Deliberative dialogue with Ibero-American universities on interventions in student mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Zapata-Ospina et al.


To contextualize a synthesis of evidence on interventions in student mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic through a deliberative dialogue with Ibero-American universities.


An evidence synthesis and synchronous dialogues were previously conducted, consisting of subgroup discussions about the design and implementation of mental health interventions. An analysis of dialogic data was conducted, then organized by topic.


Fifty-seven representatives of 17 public and private Ibero-American universities participated in the meeting. In terms of the design of interventions, mental health is perceived as neglected, although its profile was raised by the pandemic. Interventions are guided by detection of needs; scientific evidence is rarely used to design them. Importance was given to forming an interdisciplinary team with continuous training in order to design a specific program that also covers families and teaching/administrative staff. In terms of implementation, problems include saturation of services due to high demand and lack of basic resources among students.
Regarding the provision of resources, the influence of the broader context, including the institutional context, is undeniable. The dialogues were perceived as an opportunity to build a new set of interventions.


These dialogues enriched the description of interventions already described in the literature on student mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, implementing such interventions in the region means addressing previous neglect and a high level of unmet basic needs.

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