How Colleges Today Are Supporting Student Mental Health
“Why are we ignoring our young adults?” A frustrated colleague asked me last month. With all the focus on social emotional learning, trauma sensitive classrooms, and student well being in elementary schools, my friend argued that young adults need our help too. The challenge is clear. Last year, researchers who surveyed almost 15,000 first-year university students (in eight countries), found that 35% struggled with a mental illness. Here in the US, college students seeking mental health care reported that anxiety was their number 1 concern – and it’s on the rise.
There are many ways to help students cope with stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Some schools offer counseling services, while others provide access to free or low-cost therapy through local clinics, hospitals, or private providers. Many colleges also have wellness centers that offer various types of support. Online resources are available as well. For example, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention information and resources for those struggling with thoughts about suicide. There are also numerous apps designed to help students manage stress, anxiety, and depression. These range from simple relaxation exercises to more advanced mindfulness techniques.