College Parents of America has long been concerned about issues involving student health.  Most recently our concerns have focused on the complex mental health needs of college students. This is the second of several posts we will share regarding a) Starting the Conversation b) Recognizing the Trends c) Advocating for Support.

This article aims to highlight the trends and data that demonstrate the need for greater awareness and concern by college families.

We all know that supporting a college student through an unexpected event can be stressful. Families are often aware that their college student may be vulnerable to the stress of college life but it is important to note that ordinary student health problems such as a mononucleosis, chronic health conditions or injuries have remained mostly constant during the past decades.  The growth, however, in mental health-related illnesses is noteworthy and substantial.

The American College Health Association National College Health Assessment from 2010 – 2015 reports a dramatic growth in student reported incidents of the following illnesses.  The data is alarming, particularly considering that health incidents can often disrupt a student’s education.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five students will suffer from a mental health condition while attending college. In order to learn more about what colleges are doing to support affected students, we spoke with student health centers at four-year public universities.

In fact, did you know that 75% of all mental health conditions begin by age 24? That’s why the college years are so critical for families to be prepared to understand and speak about mental health issues.  According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five students will suffer from a mental health condition while attending college. In order to learn more about what colleges are doing to support affected students, we spoke with student health centers at four-year public universities.   NAMI created this video based on the guide Starting the Conversation: College and Your Mental Health developed in partnership with The Jed Foundation.

Please share this video and discussion with your fellow parents.  Your courage to discuss mental health issues is vital to building the capacity and awareness for students to remain healthy.

In our follow up posts, we will explore more of the issues that impact student mental health.   In fact, colleges and universities have recognized the mental health needs of college students for some time.  Indeed, higher education has been a pioneer in addressing mental health needs.  However, despite a great effort by colleges and universities, as the trends and data show, it will not surprise any parent that it has become increasingly difficult for institutions to meet the growing needs of students.

 

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