Implementation of a Bystander Intervention Model to Promote Referrals to and Enhance Utilization of Mental Health Resources by Students in a Community College Setting

Author/Creator ORCID






Doctor of Nursing Practice

Citation of Original Publication



The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic increased college students’ risk and prevalence of mental health conditions. However, campus mental health resources have been underutilized, and referral of students in need hindered by bystanders' (i.e., faculty, staff, peers) lack of preparedness. This Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) project aimed to improve bystanders’ preparedness using evidence-based practice (EBP). Expected outcomes included increased referrals to and utilization of mental health resources and improved access to care for college students. Guided by Social Cognitive Theory and Bystander Effect Theory, the project also focused on the concepts of self-efficacy and confidence. Workshops, based on the BeVocal bystander intervention model, were provided virtually to volunteers from a suburban, community college’s faculty/staff and student populations. Participants completed anonymous surveys for demographic data and Gatekeeper Behavior Surveys for self-rated confidence, preparedness, and likelihood to act pre- and post-workshop. A postcard was developed and provided for participants as a resource post training. Significant improvement was found post-workshop in participants’ preparedness (p<0.001), self-efficacy (p<0.001), and likelihood to intervene (p=0.002) for both sample groups. A 115.09% increase in concerning behavior reports and an 87.54% increase in referrals to college mental health resources occurred during the four months after the workshop implementation. Access to mental health care for college students was promoted through community engagement and increased preparedness to recognize and refer. Based upon the results, the BeVocal bystander intervention model and workshops will be continued at the community college through a grant obtained for the program.