We have a youth mental health crisis: three in five college students report having been diagnosed with a mental health condition by a professional, a 50 percent increase from a decade ago; nearly one third of college students take some form of psychotropic medication; and of all students who leave college, 14 percent cite mental health issues as the main reason. And yet, about two-thirds of college wellness centers have no dedicated staff providing psychiatric services. This crisis exacerbates existing racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities – white students are almost twice as likely as Black students to access care – given the importance of a college degree to future income, health, and lifespan.
In my four decades treating people with mental illness, particularly psychotic and mood disorders, I’ve seen too many students’ lives derailed by mental illness. There are no federal or state requirements for colleges to provide students with mental health services, and there is no consensus on the types of services and standards of care that should be available to students in crisis. It behooves all stakeholders (and society in general) to inform colleges as to what they should be doing in terms of mental health. Similar services and accommodations are offered to students with physical or learning disabilities, so why shouldn’t that adequate care be available to students who are struggling emotionally or experiencing mental disturbances; and not penalize students for seeking care. Learn more at my website: https://jeffreyliebermanmd.com/about/