An increasing number of American college students are seeking professional treatment for their mental health, while the country’s college campuses are experiencing an unprecedented demand for counselling services. The average age for people to get mental health issues is the early 20’s.
According to an annual report done in 2015 by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health (CCMH), the number of students who sought out counselling services rose by 30 percent, and enrollment increased by less than 6 percent between 2009 and 2015. The center also found that the students who seek help are more likely to have self-injured or attempted suicide.
A health survey done by the American College Health Association (ACHA) in the spring of 2017 showed that almost 40 percent of college students expressed that they felt very depressed in previous years that it was hard to keep up with their studies. The survey also showed that 61 percent of the 63,000 students at 92 schools that were surveyed “felt overwhelming anxiety” during the same time.
The beginning of March, formally known as “midterm season,” is when college midterms begin. This is when the wait time for treatment in counselling centres gets longer. But many counselling centres have limited resources and are not able to assist as many students as is needed. According to the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors annual survey, the average school has one counsellor for every 1,737 students.
American colleges are trying to meet the demands of the students but are not able to attend to everyone’s needs. Many students are choosing to seek help from off-campus care centres and private-sector treatment programs available in their areas. But this comes at a cost. Most private-sector treatments cost over $10,000 and are almost impossible for students to pay on their own. These treatments are also not always covered by insurance and can be limited based on location.
Even though campuses have limited resources, student government leaders at some schools are putting new fees in place that funnel funding to go directly to counselling centres to help students in need.