Mental health issues on college campuses are rising. Even pre-COVID, depression and anxiety were prevalent among college students and continue to be in this new era of life and school. This has created an increased demand for mental health resources on college campuses.
Approximately 1 in 5 college students experience a mental health condition, which has led to a 30-40% increase in the use of mental health resources on college campuses. Universities have struggled to keep up with the needs of their students. Several factors might help bridge this supply and demand gap.
Increased Financial Resources
Whether this funding goes toward staffing the campus counseling center, student education, or other resourcing of campus health services, increased financial resources will help. Typically, schools underfund these initiatives to begin with. And the additional strain is palpable as the demand for services increases.
A scalable solution to the need for more mental health resources on college campuses is training students to assist one another in a peer-to-peer format. For many students, talking to a peer is less threatening than seeking mental health services on campus. The caution with this arrangement is assuring they train peer counselors to refer to professionals when necessary.
Preventative Wellbeing Support
Many schools are offering holistic support to their students from their first day on campus to their last. This prevention versus treatment shift is designed to reduce the number of students needing help of campus mental health services. While not a solution for all cases, addressing issues before they start increases both retention and overall wellbeing. BetterYou is one such partner that supports schools in this way.
Online therapy options have also increased as demand has risen for mental health services in the population at-large. For college students in particular, this is a good solution when campus mental health services are booking appointments weeks out. Options for these services include traditional counseling in an online platform or self-directed counseling apps like Sanvello among others.
Physical Health Services
Support for the physical body is another category of mental health resources on college campuses that’s often overlooked. Offering mind/body classes like yoga or mindfulness classes can help alleviate stress and improve sleep, both of which support better mental health. While not intended to replace counseling, it can help with symptoms and management of mental health conditions.
Mental Health Screenings
Regular mental health check-ups for students are another viable addition to the list of mental health resources on college campuses. Promoting these screenings in the same way a university encourages and promotes physical health screenings can help normalize participation and reduce the stigma around mental health conditions. Again, this is another proactive approach to managing mental health issues for college students.
As the demand for mental health resources on college campuses continues to rise, colleges must continue to find ways to bridge the gap between supply and demand. With creativity, empathy, and financial investment on the part of universities, college student’s mental health will be better supported during these crucial years of their development.