LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – It’s being called a crisis on campus.
Colleges and universities are struggling to meet the growing demand for mental health services for students.
It’s such a problem, the American College Health Association is holding a national symposium on the issue this month.
College senior Kaitlin Reeves struggles with anxiety and depression. But when things get bad, she knows there’s help close by at the mental health center at her school.
“It made me feel more comfortable knowing they were always on campus and helping other students like myself,” Reeves said.
One study found a thirty-percent increase of students requesting services in a five-year period for things like anxiety, depression, substance abuse and suicide prevention.
In fact, the demand is so great, the American College Health Association said, “It’s outstripping our nations’ universities’ capabilities,” to deliver the care students need.
“There could be too few staff on campus to really address the needs. If there’s fewer financial resources, it may impact programming, hiring and also any kind of outreach initiatives,” said Bryant Ford with the American College Health Association.
This can lead to long wait times for appointments or even unavailability for services.
But some institutions are looking to change that, building new mental health centers on campus and beefing up existing programs by adding around-the-clock mental health hotlines, as well as additional screenings and workshops.
“Workshops can include anxiety reduction workshops or mood related concerns to help them manage things like depression,” Ford said.
Advocates hope these new centers and programs will give students more options on campus, help with early intervention and continue to destigmatize mental health issues.
Kaitlin said she’s glad to take advantage.
“I was tired of feeling the way that I did- still do. But counseling has helped significantly.”