A package of biopsychosocial services for young adults experiencing psychological distress was evaluated and compared to usual outpatient psychiatric care. Young adults (18–25) with moderate-to-severe symptoms of depression and/or anxiety (n = 26) were enrolled in a 13-week intervention consisting of nutritional coaching and multi-vitamin supplements, weekly educational and peer support groups, and a modest financial stipend to engage with physical or expressive activities. A comparison group (n = 13) continued with their usual medication-based outpatient care. Program participants reported significantly improved depression, anxiety, severity of distress, overall quality of life, and empowerment over 4 months, with progress maintained or further improved at 2-month follow-up. No evidence of change on any outcome was observed for comparison group participants. Although long-term impacts on mental health trajectories and reliance on psychotropic medications remain unknown, a holistic self-learning approach is a viable alternative to standard outpatient psychiatric care for young adults.
This study was made possible by Open Excellence donors.