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 recent 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’s often a stigma toward those seeking mental health treatment. Consequently, this leads to less treatment-seeking behavior by students. When you combine that with the fact that the average university has just one professional counselor for every 1,737 students, getting treatment can be challenging,
Solutions for a growing behavioral health problem
The Internet has opened new options for mental health treatment that represent a triage model for remedying on-campus issues. Eliminating long wait times caused by rising demand, and coordinating appropriate follow-up treatments are now a few simple clicks away, thanks to virtual behavioral care.
Virtual visits are convenient — no worries about transportation or traffic. Regardless of location, students can feel more comfortable getting mental 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 practical or emotional 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 video conference portal. For more information on virtual care, visit https://www.togetherhealthnetwork.org/virtualcaremi/.