Addressing Mental Health Challenges on College Campuses

A recent report from the National Council on Disability (NCD) explores the current challenges facing college students (and faculty) with mental health disabilities on campus.  Mental Health on College Campuses: Investments, Accommodations Needed to Address Student Needs finds that many colleges are struggling to provide adequate mental-health services. The report discusses federal laws impacting college mental health services, access to quality mental health services on college campuses, and promising best practices and emerging trends. 

The report also provides a large list of practical, targeted recommendations to solve these challenges. These recommendations include:

  1. Reward help-seeking behavior.
  2. Make decisions that are flexible enough to work on an individual, case-by-case basis.
  3. Fund mental health services through existing programs and shared governance structures.
  4. Collaborate with other entities to develop supplemental mental health support on campus.
  5. Explore the use of web-based counseling services.
  6. Lobby local officials to develop legislation to fund supplemental mental health services.
  7. Provide mandatory mental health sensitivity and awareness training for faculty, staff, and administrators.
  8. Develop a streamlined intake process to ensure students have immediate access to crisis services.
  9. Revise scholarship rules that require students to maintain a certain GPA to accommodate students afflicted with a mental illness.
  10. Establish a culture where mental health is not viewed as a disease or permanent state.
  11. Encourage student-led organizations to get involved in campus mental health discussions.
  12. Ensure that all counselors have cultural competency.
  13. Offer multiple types of services, including after-hours access to counseling, helplines, streamlined referral network to outside agencies, and telecounseling.
  14. Address attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, and skills that contribute to violence through education, skill building, curriculum infusion, and other efforts.
  15. Develop and implement specific policies that take into account nondiscrimination and confidentiality for LGBTQ youth.

See the report here for the full list of findings and recommendations for colleges, Congress, ED and HHS/SAMHSA.