Faculty and Staff

Mental health is critical to college students’ academic success. Though colleges and universities have made efforts to provide mental health services on campus, many students still do not access them for a variety of reasons. They may be afraid to acknowledge they have a mental health problem or they may not realize there are interventions or treatments that can help them and, therefore, they may be hesitant to reach out. Students may simply not be aware of the services on campus.

The Charge

A study of university students found that, while 49% reported knowing where to go for mental health care and 59% reported being aware of free counseling services on campus, only 26% of students with major depression received therapy or medication in the past year.¹ Less than 20% of college students who died by suicide used their campus counseling center.² This underscores the importance of continued efforts on the part of college and university administrators to increase awareness of available services and to make students feel more comfortable talking about and accessing mental health services.

Increasing Awareness of Free, Easy-to-Access Services

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Crisis Text Line are two free, easily accessible resources that are available to students 24/7 directly from their mobile phones. Colleges and universities should advertise these resources across campus. The New York State Crisis Text Marketing Toolkit can be accessed here. Lifeline materials are available on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.

Trainings

A variety of trainings to identify and assist students who may be at-risk for suicide are available for staff on campus. Counseling and health center staff will benefit from suicide risk screening, assessment, safety planning, and monitoring training. Other staff and students – including faculty, faculty advisors, resident assistants, residence hall directors, and student service staff – will benefit from non-clinical gatekeeper trainings such as the half-day SafeTALK or more intensive two-day ASIST. More information about these trainings may be found on our Training Options page. To find training opportunities near you, visit our Find a Training page.

Administration, Policies, and Procedures

Central to the prevention of suicide on college and university campuses is having policies and procedures in place to promote mental well-being, mitigate risk as it arises, and address a suicide that may occur within the campus community. Here are some resources that may help with this process:

References

  1. Eisenberg D, Golberstein E, Gollust SE. Help-seeking and access to mental health care in a university student population. Medical Care, 2007;45:7 594-601.
  2. Gallagher RP. National Survey of College Counseling Centers 2014. American College Counseling Association. 2014. Retrieved from http://www.collegecounseling.org/wp-content/uploads/NCCCS2014_v2.pdf