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The serious lack of mental health support on college campuses

02-16-17 Category: Mental Health, Stress, Therapy

The serious lack of mental health support on college campuses

The rising mental health issues among students in the United States is a big health concern. Looking at the scenario, the need of the hour is to improve the provision of mental health services on college campuses.

A recent survey has illustrated that demand for mental health care across college campuses across the country has gone up, “leaving students stuck on waiting lists for weeks, unable to get help.”

STAT surveyed mental health services at 50 higher education institutions. Some of the findings of the 2017 survey were:

  • Students frequently have to wait weeks just for an initial assessment of their symptoms
  • Indiana University and several other large schools said they hire one counselor for roughly 1,500 undergraduates
  • Four in 10 college counseling hubs did not have any psychiatrist, according to another higher education mental health services survey
  • Wait lists for a (part-time) psychiatrist to adjust or prescribe medications could take months
  • Several Ivy-league students succumbed this school year alone to complications linked to psychological issues
  • Only self-reported suicidal students were seen at once and suicide hotlines were otherwise available after-hours emergencies

Similar is the case outside college campuses, as people find it difficult to get access to mental health care specialists. For college students, the pressure is often compounded because there is no “laying low” until being seen by a professional. The semester loads wait for no one and the students are frequently away from home, without their support system.

Ben Locke leads a nationwide college counseling network and heads Penn State counseling services. “You’re making sure people are safe in the moment … but you’re not treating the depression or the panic attacks or the eating disorders,” he recounts of the make-do campus mental health programs.

Working around resource gap

But the situation is not the same in all colleges. Some colleges have devised innovative methods to help students suffering from mental health issues feel relaxed and recover so that they can look forward to a happy life.

Rutgers, a college located in New Jersey, was among the first universities to come up with recovery housing or dorms meant for individuals recovering from substance addiction. The individuals in recovery housing were under the supervision of specially trained therapists.

Keeping the mental health in mind, some colleges do favor “stress-busting” programs like “bringing in puppies for students to pet during midterms or handing out free cookies in the library during finals.” The University of California took an initiative in this direction when it raised student fees in 2015 to fund hiring more counselors.

Mental health treatment for students

Students – and the parents who support them financially – are turning increasingly to mental health providers off campus. Sovereign Health has more financing options than most treatment providers; with financing available through My Treatment Lender, in addition to insurance out-of-network discounts and split private pay options.

Our facilities in California, Florida, Texas and Arizona are not far from local airports, universities and community colleges.

Sovereign Health offers a flexible telehealth treatment option for students who may need a holistic rehabilitation option for eating disorders, substance abuse and dependency and psychological distress in a portability that works for their schedules. Licensed clinicians are available via a HIPAA-compliant interface on your electronic device for multiple levels of customized care even through e-therapy. Take advantage of our live chat to learn more.

What sets us apart is our commitment to measurement-based care and customized recovery for co-occurring issues using cutting-edge treatments and alternative therapies.

About the author

Kristin Currin-Sheehan is a Sovereign Health writer and her intriguing storytelling has been featured with Sovereign Health, KPBS TV/FM, FOX5 News in San Diego and NPR. Her illustrative and relatable approach to digital and broadcast news bridges businesses and consumers, news and community. For more information and other inquiries about this media, contact the author at