According to Lipson, S. K. et al., Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 306, 2022, mental health issues in college students have been increasing. Around 60% of college students face at least one mental health issue.
It is important that the mental health of college students should be taken seriously. College students can undergo various mental health issues like anxiety, depression, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), etc., which need intensive care. For proper consultation and treatment, it is vital to establish mental health services on college campuses.
These mental health counseling and treatment can help college students in their grades and career. Nowadays, there’s a huge pressure on college students, which can be the source of many mental health disorders.
Let’s first understand the mental health issues faced by college students.
What Mental Health Issues Do College Students Face?
1. Anxiety and depression
The most prevalent mental health conditions among college students are anxiety and depression. Students with anxiety may have poor attendance, struggle to complete tasks, have diminishing academic performance, be afraid of trying new things, or worry excessively about homework, assignments, and grades. Additionally, their motivation level and interactions with teachers and peers may severely decline. Sleep deprivation, delinquency, poor focus, and suicidal thoughts are other signs of acute depression.
Students with PTSD may have substantial mood fluctuations, behave more immaturely than they are, and exhibit erratic behavior. Flashbacks to the traumatic experience are a defining feature of this disease, which has physical and mental repercussions such as a propensity for self-harm, aggression, temper tantrums, or fear. Students who have experienced trauma or had a stressful childhood are more likely to develop PTSD.
Students with ODD become aggressive, furious, and rude toward their teachers, family, and friends. They undermine the etiquette and educational atmosphere of the classroom by criticizing others for mistakes and challenging the rules regularly.
Students with OCD may experience particular obsessive impulses and recurrent behaviors that they repeat uncontrollably. It is very challenging for children to function when they have OCD since it can produce improper thoughts in the classroom, excessive compulsions, and obsessions, leading to distraction, lack of attention, incomplete coursework, and declining grades.
5. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Short attention spans, susceptibility to distraction, excessive talking, frequent interruptions, and hyperactivity are some of the signs of ADHD. Students’ capacity to study and teachers’ ability to maintain classroom discipline may both be hampered by this disease. Although this disorder’s symptoms can be controlled by medication, they frequently indicate the presence of other mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder.
Also Read: Difference Between OCD And ADHD
What do mental health services on college campuses do?
Stress from college frequently leads to the emergence of mental illnesses, addictions, and other problems. Additionally, some universities are better than others at supporting students’ mental health.
The top college counseling programs provide workshops, therapy, and treatment suggestions. Most schools and universities offer mental health assistance, including therapy, which is typically free or inexpensive. Even more extensive services, such as therapy for individuals with substance use disorders, may be offered as part of mental health services on college campuses.
The Jed Foundation, for instance, collaborates with institutions to develop programs, procedures, and policies that assist students in finding mental health support. Additionally, counselors may coordinate treatment and provide recommendations for off-campus options.
Ultimately, it’s crucial to understand what mental health services a college provides before enrolling. Make a list of your mental health requirements if you have any particular worries so you may refer to it while you look up universities. Reviewing the college’s confidentiality policy is another smart move.
Importance of mental health services on college campuses
1. Improves academic performance
Mental health issues might affect college students’ success and ability to succeed academically. A lack of motivation and difficulties concentrating are caused by poor mental health and might result in unsatisfactory grades. The secret to students’ academic success may lie in the availability of mental health services on college campuses for them to access.
2. Supports mental well-being
Even before the year-long pandemic, college is a stressful atmosphere for students. There will be many different mental health issues as students return to university, many of which cannot be resolved by standard counseling alone. Giving students, professors, and staff mental health services on college campuses will contribute to developing a supportive campus culture.
To safeguard students’ mental health and prevent suicide on campuses, the JED Foundation (JED) suggests a community-based approach. Many children return to school after losing a loved one to COVID-19 or still experiencing mental health issues related to the pandemic, such as sadness. It’s critical to have free mental health services for college students that support suicide prevention efforts and inform everyone about how to support people who are struggling in times like these.
4. Increase retention
After COVID-19, higher education will likely resemble something very different. The American Council of Education predicts a drop in enrolment, which could significantly affect schools and universities.
According to a survey by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 64% of young adults drop out of college because of a mental illness. Free mental health services for college students have a favorable effect on retention, according to data as well. According to student self-reporting, 63% of students who got counseling said that the services had aided them in continuing their education. Higher education must give students’ mental health first priority. Otherwise, schools risk declining enrollment, graduation rates, and academic accomplishment.
11 Mental health services on college campuses
1. Campus Advocacy Groups:
These free mental health services for college students are student-run organizations established to provide support, educate students about mental health, and reduce the stigma around mental health problems. While some groups are independent on-campus groups, others are connected to bigger organizations.
2. Campus Mental Health Centers:
These mental health services on college campuses support students in overcoming mental health obstacles. Even if they are not experiencing a crisis, students can seek aid. Numerous campuses provide teletherapy, and their services may also include counseling for pupils who are having problems with substance abuse. Most institutions offer these mental health services for nothing or at reasonable costs.
3. Counseling Centers:
Students can receive mental health and other assistance from free mental health services for college students. Most campuses have these resources available to assist students with any issues they may be having that are interfering with their academic success. Usually, a school’s website’s student resources or student health services sections will have information on the counseling facility.
4. Disability Centers:
There is a disability center at almost every institution and college in the US for students who suffer from disabilities. Working to ensure lectures, as well as other mental health services on college campuses, are easily available to students who have disabilities is the responsibility of this department.
5. National Alliance On Mental Illness ( NAMI) On Campus:
These groups are run by students and serve to raise awareness of mental health concerns, help those who need it, and provide resources for those students.
6. Day Treatment Or Partial Hospitalization (PHP)
With the aid of PHP services, the children can receive treatment for a set period or seven days a week while continuing to attend school, work, and live at home.
Another choice for partial hospitalization is day treatment. Students may participate in the center’s full-time resident therapy during the day. They can manage their pressures and mental health conditions.
7. Weekly Therapy
Students at college who are struggling with mental health concerns don’t have to let it interfere with their studies or other activities. On college campuses, free mental health services for college students are accessible.
Students can set aside a few hours each week to work on goals together, receive weekly therapy, and receive treatment for their mental health or addiction difficulties.
Their weekly therapy helps their academics. They can pursue academic goals, engage in athletic endeavors, and receive mental health care.
8. On-Going Check-Ins
Students may take part in check-ins with their therapist after finishing their treatment program before receiving a full discharge.
These are provided to ensure they stick to their work and recovery plan once their therapy is over. Check-ins can occur twice or three times per month, or possibly fewer, given your improvement.
Additionally, if a student struggles, check-ins provide them an opportunity to re-enter the program.
9. Peer Mentoring Services
Both students with mental illness and those who have recovered from it have made their way through the disease. They are eager to assist those presently experiencing mental health difficulties.
Peer mentorship services, which allow you to work one-on-one with peers who have already gone through your pain, are part of the mental health services on college campuses. Once a week, these meetings are scheduled to discuss progress or go to events and activities together.
This curriculum equips parents, students, and school administrators with the knowledge and skills to distinguish between harmless celebration and serious substance abuse and act accordingly.
Students and parents looking for explanations and accountability can turn to this harm-reduction program, which also offers drug testing, peer recovery mentors, and community support.
10. Rational – Living Residences
College campuses are analyzing and looking for unique methods to help students receive assistance while also getting their degrees.
Students who enroll in Rational-Living residences can live with other recovering graduates in drug- and alcohol-free boarding homes and apartments.
The major goal is for students who are in recovery to encourage one another during difficult times by keeping one another’s heads straight.
11. Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
The Outpatient Program for Young Adults was developed to specifically address the requirements of graduating college students, ages 18 to 26, who experience difficulties focusing on their academic work due to mood-related problems like depression and anxiety.
Different therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy are incorporated into the program’s theoretical framework (DBT).
While obtaining treatment to maintain their mental health, students can continue their studies thanks to these mental health services on college campuses. They can find equilibrium there and put their life back on track.
Thus colleges need to understand the pressing issue of mental health in college students and establish free mental health services for college students.
With the increase in the need for mental health counseling for college students, a shortage of mental health services on college campuses needs to be taken care of.
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