Mental Health Resources for College Students
Rates of mental illness on campus that were already concerning prior to the onset of the Covid-19 are skyrocketing: one in three college students are suffering from depression and even more have anxiety disorders.
Women’s fraternities and sororities are being called upon to educate their members and volunteers in this area of growing need. From a risk management standpoint, we always recommend that students reach out to their respective campus mental health professionals; however, the mean student-to-counseling-staff ratio at colleges and universities is 1,737:1, according to a survey of counseling center directors. Clearly, the campus counseling services are unable to handle the sheer number of students in need of help.
We have researched several affordable options that you may want to share with your members and volunteers. If you have additional suggestions, please send them to Sara Sterley, Director of Risk Management Education, so that she can continue to update this resource for our client’s use.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
One of the options available for mental health well-being is the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI defines a mental illness as a “condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, behavior or mood.” NAMI also states that the first thing those who have or think they might have a mental illness need to know is that “you are not alone.” NAMI provides a variety of resources, trainings, information, programs and tools to help, including:
- Warning Signs and Symptoms – There are many types of conditions classified as mental illness, and each illness has its own set of symptoms. Knowing the signs and symptoms is important as a self-help tool as well as a way to help someone else in need.
- Mental Health Conditions – This section offers information such as an overview, treatment, support and discussion groups for a variety of conditions, including:
- Anxiety disorders.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Bipolar disorder.
- Eating disorders.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- NAMI Blog – Provides blog posts on a variety of topics related to mental illness and well-being. Readers also have the option to search for a specific topic or search by categories or through the archives.
- Video Resource Library – Videos of inspirational stories, public service announcements, education shorts and more.
- Support Groups – Peer-led groups offering participants an opportunity to share their experiences and gain support from other attendees.
- NAMI HelpLine – Available 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday at 800-950-NAMI (6264) or via email at email@example.com.
- Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741 to be connected with a trained crisis counselor to receive free 24/7 crisis support via text message.
- Warning Signs of a Mental Health Crisis – Infographic quickly outlines warning signs and what to do in a mental health crisis.
- Navigating a Mental Health Crisis: A NAMI Resource Guide for Those Experiencing a Mental Health Emergency – Guide outlines what can contribute to a crisis, warning signs that a crisis is emerging, strategies to de-escalate a crisis, available resources and more.
Mental Health America
Mental Health America is a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of people living with mental illness. The organization has offices and branches around the country, and a comprehensive “finding help” tool that includes self-assessment tools, links to finding someone in your community to talk to, and even tips on how to make the most of your relationship with a therapist or social worker, as well as a crisis number you can call in case of emergency (1-800-273-TALK).
Additionally, Mental Health America offers resources specifically geared toward college students, and they’ll help with other aspects of your life that may be impacted by mental health issues.
One of the best and most overlooked services is the 211 service that most municipal areas have. You can dial to find out about mental health, counseling, or other resources available in your community and beyond. The FCC’s “Dial 211″ info page has a wealth of information about what you can learn when you call them.
They don’t offer mental health and counseling services directly, but they can refer you to appropriate services in your area. 211 is free, but some of the services they have access to aren’t, so keep that in mind.
Talkspace is one of the original online therapy companies that enables users to connect with licensed mental health professionals based on their individual needs. There are various subscription levels available depending on one’s budget and needs.
Additionally, Talkspace offers corporate discounts for organizations who may want to offer the platform to their members.
BetterHelp is the world’s largest e-counseling platform, and it’s not just one type of counseling: you can choose to message, chat live, hop on the phone, or video chat with your therapist an unlimited number of times per week. Check out their website and over 25,000 testimonials to learn more.
Apple’s 2017 App of the Year, Calm is an app that helps you build a meditation practice that has been proven to help alleviate stress and anxiety. In addition, there are options to aid sleep. It really helps to develop a daily practice, and also enjoy a moment of calm and peacefulness when the day becomes too stressful. Many of the meditations are free, but some of the sessions are locked unless you subscribe.
What’s up is a free app that uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) methods to help users cope with depression, anxiety, stress, and more. What’s Up offers additional resources and services to large groups like sororities to boost the mental health of their constituents.
Headspace is another free app that is rooted in the science of meditation. It has series of guided and unguided meditations, and plenty of other relevant content to listen in your own time and at your own pace.
SuperBetter is a game focused on increasing resiliency, strength, and optimism. When people played SuperBetter for 30 days, their moods improved, symptoms decreased, and self-belief in achieving goals increased, according to a study by the University of Pennsylvania. SuperBetter is designed to help users adopt new habits, strengthen relationships, complete meaningful projects, and achieve lifelong goals. If you still don’t believe that a game can do all of that, watch this viral TED talk from the game’s designer.
Happy to help
This is obviously a huge issue to get our arms around. Let us know how we can come alongside you to bolster the mental health of your members, volunteers, and employees.