Being away from home for the first time, access and personal decisions about alcohol and drugs, financial concerns and the rigorous demands of academic life can all lead to anxiety and depression. For an increasing number of students, college can feel like a pressure cooker.
Anxiety and depression rates sky rocket over the past two decades
According to a TIME magazine article, students have greater levels of stress and psychopathology than any time in our nation’s history. Between 2009 and 2015, the number of students visiting counseling centers increased by 30% on average, while enrollment grew by less than 6%. In spring 2017, nearly 40% of college students said they felt so depressed in the prior year that it was difficult for them to function, and 61% of students said they’d experienced overwhelming anxiety, according to an American College Health Association* survey, of more than 63,000 students at 92 schools. Combine these serious stats with various forms of learning disabilities (ADHD), substance abuse, sleep deprivation or eating disorders, and the overall picture is clear: today’s college students face serious behavioral and mental health challenges.
High stigma environment
The college behavioral health situation has ramifications that are difficult to overstate for late adolescent and early adult populations. Unfortunately, on campus there is often a stigma toward those seeking behavioral health treatment, leading to less treatment-seeking behavior by students. When you combine this to limited access to professional counseling services, getting treatment can be challenging.
Solutions for a growing behavioral health problem
Virtual care has opened new options for behavioral health treatment, helping to eliminate long wait times caused by rising demand. And, virtual visits are convenient — no worries about transportation or traffic. Regardless of location, students can feel more comfortable getting behavioral health services in the privacy of their dorm room or home. Virtual visits make it easier to fit therapy into a busy schedule while eliminating the obstacles associated with in-person visits.
It all starts with knowing that virtual options exist for behavioral health. Getting to an appointment is as easy as pulling out your smartphone or a laptop and logging into a secure videoconference portal. For more information on virtual care, visit https://www.togetherhealthnetwork.org/virtualcaremi/.
*ACHA represents over 1,100 higher education institutions for the collective health and wellness needs of 10 million college students.