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College and Mental Health

Adolescents-2The Jed Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that promotes emotional health among college students.  The foundation’s Medical Director, Dr. Victor Schwartz, states “of the 20 million students in post-secondary education in the United States, 20 percent have received counseling or some type of mental health diagnosis.”

Many colleges and universities are reviewing and updating their comprehensive mental health and suicide prevention programs.  In an article based on an interview with Dr. Schwartz, Matthew Lynch, Ed. D. summarizes the Jed Foundation’s recommendations for schools to strengthen their mental health support systems.  The foundation recommends:

  • Engaging in campus-wide strategic planning to identify specific issues related to mental health and substance abuse and develop action plans to address them
  • Training new faculty, students and staff to identify at-risk students and refer them to appropriate counseling services
  • Advocating for mental health as a campus-wide issue
  • Creating a task force to promote mental health
  • Increasing programs to identify and support incoming at-risk students
  • Engaging in environmental safety scans of a campus to locate potential sources of danger
  • Building student affairs programs that enhance life skills and student connectedness
If you have a college student, I encourage you to explore the school’s mental health program.  Increasing awareness of resources available to students is key to their success.
  Dr. Lynch’s entire article appears in his HuffingtonPost blog here.