Between the pressures of academic success, social fulfillment and everything in-between, college can be a trying time for many. As a result, an increasing number of universities are actively bulking up their mental health services. According to a study by the American Psychological Association (APA), approximately 86 percent of students with a psychiatric disorder left school without completing their degrees, and almost a third of all college students said they had been so depressed in the previous year that they struggled to function. Also according to the APA, suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst college students.
Support from the Government
With less stigma clouding the treatment of psychiatric disorders in more recent years, schools in Southern California such as UC San Diego, UC Los Angeles, and UC Irvine, have taken steps towards more comprehensive treatment programs for struggling students. Thanks to The Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act and other suicide prevention programs that have sprung into action since the act’s implementation in 2004, more colleges are building up their government-funded mental health programs, as well as raising awareness of mental health issues and suicide.
Universities Taking Action in Southern California
UC San Diego has approximately 36,000 students, all of which are entitled to the school’s College Mental Health support program. Mental health conditions treated include anxiety disorders, depression, substance use disorders, eating disorders, cyclic mood disorders, first-episode psychosis or early psychosis in young adults, and suicidal thoughts. The school offers a comprehensive, biopsychosocial evaluation designed to determine a tailored approach suited to each student’s needs. UCSD also strives to make the process as seamless as possible for college students, whose schedules are notoriously busy - one of the many benefits of getting help from a program that caters to students.
UC Los Angeles is forging a path for students to take on their mental health needs with the school’s Counseling and Psychological Services Center, which provides short-term, high-quality mental health treatment to students, including a complete assessment and ongoing case management referrals, as well as group and individual therapy and psychiatry services. With a strong focus on counseling and psychotherapy, the program has the resources and qualified staff members to assist students struggling with a wide variety of psychiatric issues, as well as the ability to utilize their connection to community resources and referrals on a case-by-case basis.
With an overarching goal to provide easily-accessible mental health assistance on a multitude of platforms for busy students, UC Irvine focuses on sustainable wellbeing. From online counseling services to mental health apps, the center hopes to both guide and support students. For more ongoing psychiatric conditions, the school is connected with the local psychiatric community, enabling them to make suitable referrals.
Between government funding bolstering awareness, as well as the destigmatizing of mental health disorders and treatments, it is likely that we will see even more growth in the realm of psychiatric support programs on college campuses, as well as more students utilizing those programs in the coming years.
- S. Mishkin