COLUMN: Nurturing mental health resources

Increasing amounts of students are leaving school because of mental health concerns. This means universities, as a whole, are not committing enough resources to deal with this important issue.

According to a 2015 survey from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health, rates of self-injury and serious suicidal ideation are increasing on college campuses.

This statistic is sobering and is a reminder that universities must do more for the mental health needs of their students.

According to Newsweek magazine, one of the reasons universities may not commit more resources for students’ mental health is because some university administrators do not want their school to be judged as a place with large amounts of mental health problems, since students are now more likely to seek help for potential mental health problems to begin with.

The stigma around mental illness is something that needs to be combated in student life.

According to Healthline, about 33 percent of college students were so depressed within the past 12 months it was difficult to function, 55 percent reported feeling overwhelming anxiety, and about 87 percent said they felt overwhelmed by their responsibilities.

Solving these problems involves addressing mental health stigma in student life and university policy so administrators can properly help students with mental health issues.

These stigma efforts must be targeted towards university officials as well, since they are the ones who make the policies that affect students.

According to Jennifer Ruark from the Chronicle of Higher Education, another issue is that mental health resources can change depending on different campuses around the country.

In an interview with PBS, Ruark said some campuses have resources that others do not. For example, some counseling centers have more hours available for students, and not every university has resources like an on-site psychiatrist who can work with students.

Micky Sharma, director of the Office of Student Life Counseling at Ohio State University, said in the same interview with PBS that one of the jobs a university has to do is ensure that students have as many support services available as possible for them to be academically successful.

These issues have to be addressed by universities because improving mental health for college students can also benefit the university by increasing the GPAs of the student body and by increasing graduation rates.

An increased investment in mental health resources is necessary for today’s generation of college students to not just have an academically successful and nurturing experience while they’re in school, but also so they have the tools and the knowledge to lead a successful, productive life once they leave the university.

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