Recovery for All: May 2012
Supporting Students: Addressing Mental Health on College Campuses
by Dana Markey, program manager, NAMI
There has never been a more critical time to address the mental health needs of college students than now. Colleges across the country are reporting large increases in enrollment.1 At the same time, college counseling centers are observing an increase in the prevalence and severity of mental health illnesses experienced by students.2 In order for colleges to meet these demands, it is essential that they understand the needs of these students and how best to support them.
In an effort to equip colleges with this important information, NAMI recently completed a national survey of young adults living with mental illness currently enrolled in school or who were enrolled in the past five years. The survey results provide significant insight into the lived experience of students living with mental illness and the services and supports they value most.
Some preliminary highlights from the survey include emphasis on the critical need for the following services and supports to be available on campuses:
- Mental health training for faculty, staff and students
- Suicide prevention programs
- Peer-run, student mental health organizations
- Mental health information during campus tours, orientation, health classes and other campus-wide events
- Walk-in student health center, a 24-hour crisis hotline, ongoing individual counseling, screening and evaluation services and comprehensive referrals to off-campus services and support
Among the major conclusions of the survey, stigma continues to be the number one barrier to accessing mental health services and supports for college students.
1. U.S. Census Bureau (2011). Statistical Abstract of the United States. Retrieved Feb. 16, 2012, from http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2011/tables/11s0274.pdf.
2. Gallagher, R.P. (2009). National Survey of Counseling Center Directors. Retrieved Feb. 16, 2012, from http://www.education.pitt.edu/survey/nsccd/archive/2009/monograph.pdf.
This article is a preview of what will fully appear in the next issue of NAMI Beginnings. A full report of the NAMI survey will be released this summer as well. Stay tuned!