back to results Back

Taking a Stand Against Depression

A pensive woman with her hand to her mouth
The UCLA Depression Grand Challenge is upgrading screening and treatment for Los Angeles college students with a $2 million gift from Dunard Fund USA.

What starts at UCLA spreads hope. From breakthrough research to new technologies, discoveries developed on campus reach communities and improve lives far and wide.

The UCLA Depression Grand Challenge (DGC) is poised to follow the pattern. Worldwide, 300 million people suffer from depression, but fewer than half receive treatment. Furthermore, rates of depression are rising fastest among teens and young adults.

Pioneering Care

In response, the DGC developed the Screening and Treatment for Anxiety and Depression (STAND) Program, using online screening and mobile technology; tiered, evidence-based treatment; and ongoing assessment to deliver personalized care to more patients. The unique model made UCLA the first university to offer screening for students and immediate connection to appropriate levels of care.

Taking the Next Step

Now further upgrades are on the horizon, thanks to $2 million from Dunard Fund USA. The gift is enabling the DGC to incorporate real-time symptom and behavior tracking; new modules for sleep and substance use disorders and assessing diet and environmental influences on depression; and extra resources for translating materials, training coaches, and exploring linking participants to social services.

Expanding to the City

The DGC plans to roll out STAND 2.0 in 2020 among a new population: Los Angeles community college students. Students at community colleges face risk for severe depression at least twice that of students at four-year colleges. If STAND 2.0 is anything like its first phase — which has screened more than 6,000 students; offered treatment to nearly 2,000; and responded to 600 suicide risk alerts since 2017 — it will help meet immediate needs while moving the DGC one step closer to cutting the global burden of depression.

The effort is another example of UCLA taking a stand to improve lives with the help of philanthropy.

To learn more, contact

Dorin Esfahani310-267-1838

Published December 2019

Diagram depicting the STAND system of care shows four steps. Step 1: Screening (Mental Health Tracker online survey). Step 2: Triaged to tier and provided treatment to fit level of need. Step 3: Continuous monitoring of symptoms, behavioral tracking, and suicide management (Real-time analysis and safety check). Step 4: Continuous, just-in-time calibration of treatment and reassignment (Data-driven adaptation within and across tiers). An additional chart for Step 4 shows four tiers of need among which patients can fluctuate. Tier 0: Symptom level is limited to none, and treatment is a self-guided online prevention program. Tier 1: Symptom level is mild, and treatment is an online therapy program with certified coaches. Tier 2: Symptom level is moderate, and treatment is an online therapy program with advanced certified coaches. Tier 3: Symptom level is severe, and treatment is in-person, protocoled clinical care from psychology and psychiatry team.

The STAND system of care uses online screening and mobile technology; tiered, evidence-based treatment; and ongoing assessment.

More Stories: David Geffen School of Medicine / Health Sciences, Health & behavior, Students, Science & technology, Students & campus, UCLA & community

Performers on a stage include a percussionist, four vocalists, and various instrumentalists, with a small menorah at the front.

An Ode to Partnership

UCLA’s generous supporters make real progress possible, seeding initial ideas that bear philanthropic fruit for the future. Such…

Team of busy surgeons in scrubs and masks work over an operating table

Gifts from the Heart

UCLA is known for tackling tough cases, from treating rare diseases to completing complex procedures. Amid its expertise…

In a laboratory setting, Gaurav Sant closely monitors a machine producing concrete material.

Upcycling Generosity

In the hands of UCLA experts, philanthropic gifts mix with public funding and industry investment to pioneer transformative…