The Suicide Prevention Resource Center has made available the presentations
from the 2007 SAMHSA Suicide Prevention Grantees Technical Assistance
Meeting. Topics include a framework and best practices for campus suicide
prevention, gatekeeper training, strategic message development, options for
building treatment capacity, and strategic planning.
Mental health issues are a growing concern on college and university campuses across the country. Campus health providers and administrators report seeing sharp increases in student demand for counseling services and many report seeing students with more severe and complex mental health problems compared even to a decade ago. College health insurers also report spikes in claims for prescription psychiatric drugs, including anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications. To some degree, these findings are not surprising given that late adolescence is the time when a number of psychiatric disorders first emerge.
Numerous factors are associated with these mental health problems on campus and some experts theorize that young people who once might not have found their way into college are now enrolled. Whether this is the case or not, campuses are faced with a concerning number of students who struggle to cope with academic demands, social isolation, a new environment, and pressure to succeed, all of which can undermine students’ ability to enjoy their college experience and successfully complete their studies.
Data from numerous sources reveal that a significant number of students on campuses across the country have poor mental health and many experience mental illnesses serious enough to warrant professional attention.
Mental illness and poor mental health negatively affect individual students, their families, the campus environment, and society-at-large. If left undetected or untreated, mental illness can lead to academic failure, reduced retention, and result in other devastating outcomes.
With appropriate support, people who experience mental illness can recover. Institutions of higher education can address mental health concerns by adopting a campus-wide approach to promoting student mental health and wellbeing and preventing suicidal behavior.