While tertiary students commonly experience distress that substantially impacts functioning and performance, few seek help. Innovative strategies are needed to promote wellbeing and address this distress. The current article describes the development, acceptability testing, and use of an Internet intervention to promote student wellbeing and resilience—thedesk.
Acceptability and useability of the program were evaluated by user analytics and focus groups.
In the first 3.5 years, 118,000 individuals accessed the website and had 163,000 sessions averaging 5.3 min and 6.9 accessed pages. Users’ wellbeing scores were positively skewed, suggesting that the engaged content has broad relevance. While the percentage of people leaving the site after viewing the homepage was considered acceptable at 50%, there is significant room to improve engagement. Responses from consumer focus groups suggested high acceptability, perceived usability, and likely utility. Concerns included data security and, for international students, the need for greater direction on program use.
While further research is needed to evaluate the effects of thedesk on wellbeing and distress, the current results suggest that it provides highly accessible support that is well accepted by most tertiary students and has the potential for use as a stand-alone intervention or, adjunctively, to increase the impact of other student support.