Why Adequate Mental Health Care in Universities is Crucial
Entering college can be a stressful time for students. The first time arriving on campus brings new experiences, new responsibilities, and yes, stress. For many, the stress is just a building block of life and they are able to move forward and grow from it. However, for some students, the change can be overwhelming and affect their mental health.
That’s why a recent article pushes universities across the United States to implement adequate mental health programs to help students transition better in their new environment. It is not uncommon for student to develop depression and fall into substance use due to the stress of starting over in a new environment. Often, this leads into abusing alcohol and drugs to cope with the pain.
For the most part, neither students nor parents pay much attention to their school’s mental health programs when deciding on which college to attend. They are more focused on aspects like the reputation of the school, the safety, and the overall college experience. Mental health services usually do make the checklist of most parents and students.
However, the ages of students in college closely coincide with the onset of mental disorders in people. Some of these include:
- Anxiety Disorders
- Eating Disorders
- Substance Abuse
The statistics of college age students and risks for mental disorders are more common than you might think and often, the condition is left untreated and gets worse.
Some stats include:
- One in four young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 develop a diagnosable mental disorder
- Forty percent of students with diagnosable mental conditions do not seek help
- Eighty percent feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities
- Fifty percent have been so anxious they struggled in school
Unfortunately, most schools are not prepared enough to meet the needs of their students when it comes to mental health. And the services that are offered are not adequate enough to meet the critical needs of the students who enroll. College is a time where harmful behavior can occur such as on-campus physical and sexual violence and self-harm behaviors. The number of student clients of campus counseling centers who are taking psychotropic medication is nearly 25%.
When treatment is offered, the most common form is crisis counseling and psychotherapy. However, the research suggests that universities should focus on providing student’s access to trained personnel such as psychiatrists and social workers in adequate numbers.
As a result, often university administrators take on the responsibility of providing mental health services to students. This is partly due to costs but also liability. However, more and more institutions should provide for the mental health needs for students as they continue in school.
So what should students and parents do?
As suggested in the article, parents and students must acknowledge that mental health care is needed in the course of their college education and make it a priority. Both parents and students should look at the mental health programs offered at their university and ask for credentials.
Attention to mental health care offered at university should be analyzed just as much as frat life and university prestige. After all, mental health can determine the overall experience a student is able to have at their new university. Furthermore, for parents, knowing that these services are available gives them a peace of mind that their child has access to someone when they are dealing with the ups and downs of the college experience.
Mental health is a major issue that continues to affect college age students. Often, these issues are the cause of depression and drug addiction. If you feel your new environment is overwhelming you and leading you to in a bad direction, you should talk to someone about your concerns. Do not wait for an unhealthy solution like addiction to take over instead. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.
Author: Shernide Delva