The prevalence of youth mental health issues is a significant concern globally, with approximately one in four young people in the Western world experiencing a mental health disorder annually. In the Netherlands, a quarter of young adults were categorized as ‘psychologically unhealthy’ in 2021, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these challenges. Adolescence, marked by various transformations, leaves young people vulnerable to mental health complaints, often emerging before the age of 25. However, barriers such as stigma and limited knowledge hinder their access to mental health services. Digital mental health initiatives like ENgage YOung people earlY (ENYOY) aim to address these barriers by providing personalized, 24/7 support.


This dissertation evaluates the impact of ENYOY in the Netherlands, focusing on reducing the risk of severe mental disorders, diminishing mental health complaints, and actively involving young people in the research process. The findings underscore the need for accessible and youth-friendly mental health services and advocate for organizational collaboration and active involvement of young people in improving mental health services.


Key Takeaways

  • “…online indicated preventive mental health interventions targeting young people with emerging mental health complaints were found to hold promising potential in reducing a range of mental health complaints and enhancing aspects of positive health such as well-being and resilience. These interventions have demonstrated notably high levels of usability and acceptability. An important observation was that online interventions combining both clinical and peer moderation tended to yield the most consistent and impactful results.”
  • “Regardless of usage frequency, the [ENYOY] platform consistently had large effects among young people. This could potentially be attributed to the platform’s unique composition, consisting of four main modules: therapy exercises, conversations with peer workers, sessions with psychologists, and a community for peer-to-peer support.”
  • “…we empowered young individuals to determine their own usage patterns for each module, tailoring their engagement based on their specific needs. This individualized approach enabled young people to create their own optimal usage of the platform’s modules, rendering the measurement of therapy or community activity alone redundant in capturing the platform’s overall impact.”
  • “Traditional mental health models predominantly concentrate on mental health complaints, framing health as the mere absence of illness or disability. In contrast, a dual-factor model of mental health encompasses not only markers of psychopathological symptoms, but also evaluations of positive subjective well-being.”