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Mental Health of College Students

college friends

Written by Courtney Ball

Courtney Ball is an MHV intern and junior at the University of Richmond studying Psychology and Spanish.

April 11, 2024

According to the Healthy Minds Study for the 2020–2021 school year, data from 373 college campuses had more than 60% of college students reporting at least one mental health problem. Furthermore, the number of students seeking help at campus counseling centers increased about 40% between the years of 2009 and 2015. 

 Mental health on college campuses is a major issue and was getting worse even before the pandemic. The transition to college can be a challenging time for many students, as they navigate academic pressures, social changes, and their newfound independence. These stressors, combined with the demands of coursework and the state of the world at large, can take a toll on students’ mental well-being. Universities recognize the importance of supporting students’ mental health and have implemented various resources and support services to address these needs. Here are some common resources offered by universities:

Counseling Services: Many universities provide counseling centers staffed with licensed mental health professionals, including psychologists, counselors, and social workers. These professionals offer individual therapy sessions to students dealing with a range of issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, relationship problems, and academic concerns. These services are typically free for full time students and can be very beneficial.

Crisis Intervention: Universities typically have protocols in place to respond to mental health crises. This may include 24/7 hotlines, walk-in crisis intervention services, or partnerships with local mental health facilities for emergency care. If your university does not offer any services for crises, 988 is always an option.

Mental Health Education and Outreach: Universities may host workshops, seminars, or events to raise awareness about mental health issues and promote self-care strategies. These initiatives aim to reduce stigma surrounding mental illness and encourage help-seeking behavior among students. Furthermore, students who attend these events may be able to confide in their peers who they did not know were also struggling or needed support.

Online Resources: Many universities offer online resources such as self-assessment tools, articles, and videos on mental health topics. These resources provide students with information and tips for managing stress, improving sleep, and enhancing overall well-being. There are also warmlines available for those who may need someone to talk to. For example, Mental Health America of Virginia has a warmline available at 866-400-6428.

Accessibility Services: Students with mental health conditions may be eligible for accommodations through their university’s accessibility services office. Accommodations may include extended deadlines, exam accommodations, or some more flexible policies to support students’ mental health needs.

Campus Wellness Programs: Universities often have wellness centers or programs focused on promoting holistic well-being. These programs may include fitness classes, meditation sessions, nutrition counseling, and stress-reduction workshops. All of these programs can help students improve their mental health but also learn something new and share it with others who may be struggling but do not have the strength to attend.

It’s important for students to familiarize themselves with the mental health resources available on their college campuses and to reach out for support when needed. Students should take advantage of the services and programs that their universities offer because everyone can always benefit in one way or another. Additionally, universities should continue to prioritize mental health initiatives and strive to create a supportive and inclusive campus environment for all students.

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