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Scope of the Problem
– The 2015 NSDUH shows that adults ages 18 or older with past year mental health issues were more likely than other adults in that age group to have used illicit drugs in the same period (32.1 vs 14.8%)
– The risk of co-occurring disorders is pronounced among college students as they transition from adolescence to adulthood, an age when mental health issues often surface for the first time and in a new environment where substance use is common
– Increased academic distress is associated with increased mental health issues including suicidal ideation
– Misuse of drugs and alcohol is correlated with
– Need to cope with the pressures of college life (6.4% of college students report nonmedicinal use of ADHD medications)
– Campus culture of alcohol use
Why Do We Care-
– The overall state of student’s health affects learning.
– Mental health problems and harmful health behaviors such as substance abuse can impair the quality and quantity of learning.
– They decrease students’ intellectual and emotional flexibility, weaken their creativity, and undermine their interest in new knowledge, ideas, and experiences.
– Behavioral health issues such as binge drinking, drug use, cutting and other self-injurious behavior, eating disorders, pornography addiction, and problematic gambling can all be understood as maladaptive strategies to reduce stress and anxiety.
– Several of those behaviors are reinforced and supported in the social culture of many colleges and universities. (Which behaviors are reinforced in your university-)
Why Do We Care-
– Students may self-medicate by turning to substance use
– Substance use is frequently associated with negative personal, social, and community consequences, from regretted actions while intoxicated to “hooking up.”
– Students need access to care to cope with these events to prevent PTSD, depression and suicidal ideation.
Issues Students Face
– New freedoms and independence
– New surroundings and experiences
– New social networks
– Separation from family and established friendships
– New academic demands
– Some students may be afraid to seek certain types of help or request accommodations for a mental health issue for fear of being viewed as incapable or being expelled.
– However, without accommodations, their performance may be negatively affected
– A key component of well-being is resilience—the ability to recognize, face, and manage or overcome problems and challenges, and to be strengthened, rather than defeated, in the process.
– Resilient graduates better navigate today’s uncertain and volatile economic, employment, and career environments.
– Challenges to health and well-being undermine resilience by making it more difficult for the student to deal with life on life’s terms
– Less resilient students take fewer intellectual and creative risks and are poor partners in group learning situations
– Hardiness (Commitment, control and challenge) can promote resilience
– Hardy personality allows one to have confidence in one’s ability to handle change, increases belief in one’s general competence, and helps derive personal meaning from one's social activities
– Learning experiences of all kinds, from academic courses to student employment, help students develop this ability
– What experiences can we facilitate to help students- (What problems can we present, in what way, with what expected outcome-)
– Providing culturally competent, trauma-informed services and active outreach to specific populations is vital
Components of Quality Programs
– Strategies to strengthen learning outcomes for students of any age and in any context
– Improving the quality of the learning environment.
– Provide education, outreach and prevention services to help students manage unique stressors
– Providing culturally responsive, trauma informed services to treat mental health and addiction issues
– Ensure faculty, staff, administration and health personnel are aware of strategies to help students deal with stressors
– The best way for colleges and universities to nurture resilience among students is to promote health and well-being
– Publicity campaign to
– Reduce the negativity associated with seeking help for mental health issues
– Educate the campus community (students, residence hall staff, instructors) about
– The warning signs of mental health issues
– Stress management and wellness strategies
– Demonstrate understanding of different ethnic/racial social norms and needs
– Raise awareness of the resources on campus and in the surrounding community.