The Rate of College Students Seeking Treatment for Mental Health

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I want to create a persuasive that will increase the rate of college students seeking treatment for mental health.

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Problem

The mental health of college students has been a growing concern over the last decade, with the issue being exacerbated by the challenges of modern education and realities. In a 2013 survey, more than 95% of college counseling center directors indicated the growing number of students with significant psychological problems, 70% suggesting that severe mental health issues are increasing as well. The most common mental health concerns among college students are generally anxiety (41.6%), depression (36.4%), and relationship issues (35.8%) (American Psychological Association, 2013).

Mental health is critical for college students at such a turbulent age. These issues can affect various areas of a student’s life including quality of life and energy levels, academic performance and concentration, physical health, and mental ability. There are concrete consequences in most cases if mental health problems are not addressed. For the student themselves, it can progress into deeper issues such as depression and the result of detrimental impacts a student can begin to fail classes, lose relationships, and potentially lead to tragic outcomes such as self-harm. There are also consequences for others, such as family and peers who may be affected out of personal concern. Professional commitments suffer as a result of mental health, leading others to question dependability of the student. The community at large suffers when there is a high rate of mental disorders (SPRC, 2020). Therefore, it is an issue that must be taken seriously due to the personal and social impact it can have.

While social acceptance and discourse of mental health has been on the rise, many college students in need of counseling, especially those with severe disorders, are reluctant to seek help. The most common barrier is the perception that treatment is not needed, and the issue will resolve on itself, making up 66% of self-responses. Other elements include lack of time (26.8%), preference for self-management (18%), and only a minority of students (12%) mentioned stigma (Czyz et al., 2014). While there are evident systemic issues in provision of mental healthcare as discussed below, the utilization of these services remains low among college students. However, as evident by both professional research and anecdotal data, psychological issues need treatment and practically never resolve themselves, but oftentimes are exacerbated later on. It is critically important for college students to seek mental health aid and society encouraging

Significance

College education (potentially extending further to masters and PhD degrees) is a highly challenging and stressful time of transition for individuals. In addition to academic pressures and facing the choice of deciding their life careers, students are also burdened with adult-like responsibilities while not yet having mastered the skills or cognitive maturity of adulthood. For some it may range from cooking for themselves and taking care of their own laundry, while others have to balance work and study, manage finances and finding money to pay for textbooks or the next semester. Everything from first jobs to first serious relationships, college students are under immense pressure, particularly with modern mindset that college academic studies are vital for a successful career and having a good life. There are also elements to consider such as substance abuse that is prevalent in college. When evaluating college student, it is important to identify the age of onset of current psychopathology, the earlier the onset and time without treatment for the mental health disorder, the poorer the outcome and more severe is the presentation (Pedrelli et al., 2014).

As many as 73% of students will experience a mental health crisis during their college years. Despite the conversation about mental health and acceptance in the last 5 years, there is still a stigma surrounding the concept, particularly in some societal groups (i.e. fraternities in college). The three main barriers to seeking mental health help are stigmatization, deficient services, and lack of information. While colleges have counseling services, most have limited clinical services or personnel, especially when it comes to addressing severe psychological issues. Meanwhile, students and parents generally have minimal knowledge regarding when and how to seek help. Counseling is typically associated with some level of academic trouble, and very often students do now know where to seek emergency psychiatric care or if they are eligible for long-term care (Scholozman et al., 2017).

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Target Audience

The primary target audience are the students at University of Nebraska-Lincoln as this is where the author of this campaign attends. The topic is also directly aimed at college-level students so anyone attending any type of college (community, part-time, full-time) as well as more advanced education programs (masters and PhD) can benefit. The campaign is aimed at students in academic settings of all types. As a relatively large school, it is likely that there are students that fall into the statistics discussed above that suffer from a mental health condition and are reluctant or unsure how to receive psychiatric help. The level of mental health disturbance is irrelevant, ranging from a one-time episode or minor issue to more severe dysfunctional conditions, all students are encouraged to seek professional counseling as early as possible when they feel distressed.

Goal

The goal of the campaign is to destigmatize, educate, encourage, and stimulate mental health aid for students on campus. The primary objective is to increase mental health service utilization by students. This can be measured on a quarterly basis via statistics from student counseling services as well as potentially private providers if they are willing to share general data regarding the number of students utilizing these professional services and whether there is a percentage increase from previous years and quarter over quarter. Measures such as unique patients as well as repeated visits can be helpful.

Another secondary goal is to make mental health aid more accepted in the student community, so even though a student may not need at the time, they would be willing to consider it or recommend it to their friends at times of need. Something like this can be measured through a self-response survey measuring attitudes via scales. Overall, mental health is a complex topic, so stimulating mental health service utilization is a difficult topic. It is not a one or even two-step action. For most people, it is a deep evaluation and consideration of their behaviors and needs. Therefore, the approach has to be wholesome to include education about it, starting public discourse, and reducing stigma around the topic. The goal is for students to feel comfortable and actually utilize mental health services in situations where they feel something is wrong or unusual about their mental state.

Method

Many of the issues discussed that serve as barriers against mental health service utilization, such as reluctance, lacking time, discomfort, and others – all can be potentially linked to stigma. Stigma can be either external where opinions of outside parties influence behavior, or even internal, where internal perception influences opinion. For example, the major reason cited as to not seeking help is the perception that it is not needed. In a way that can viewed as stigmatization because either society or family has essentially conditioned students to ‘overcome’ and not seek help, especially in sensitive matters such as mental health where many believe it can ruin one’s public image or future career.

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The suggested method to use in this case is the stigma reduction theory proposed by Corrigan and Penn in 1999. The core to this approach is a three-fold strategy of education, contact, and protest. Education consist of providing factual information and replacing myths or stereotypes that people have about an issue. Contact includes interactions with people experiencing mental health issues or them sharing publicly about their struggles to both challenge prejudice and encourage others to feel that they are not alone facing the same problem. Finally, protest is where one identifies and speaks out against prejudices against those with mental illness and provide solutions for better resolutions. Systematic reviews have found that interventions combining comprehensive mental health education combined with contact resulted in improvements of knowledge and social attitudes towards mental illness (Subramaniam et al., 2020). Therefore, the method would be focused on using the stigma reduction theory to alleviate public misconceptions and introducing information and incentives that are particular to the target population and university on the importance of utilizing mental health services.

References

American Psychological Association. (2013). College students’ mental health is a growing concern, survey finds. Monitor on Psychology, 44(6).

Czyz, E. K., Horwitz, A. G., Eisenberg, D., Kramer, A., & King, C. A. (2013). Self-reported barriers to professional help seeking among college students at elevated risk for suicide. Journal of American College Health, 61(7), 398–406.

Pedrelli, P., Nyer, M., Yeung, A., Zulauf, C., & Wilens, T. (2014). College students: Mental health problems and treatment considerations. Academic Psychiatry, 39(5), 503–511.

Schlozman, S., Beresin, G., & Abdu-Glass, E. (2017). The college mental health crisis: A call for cultural change – Part 2.

SPRC. (2020). Consequences of student mental health issues.

Subramaniam, M., Shahwan, S., Abdin, E., Goh, C. M. J., Ong, W. J., Tan, G. T. H., Baig, N., Samari, E., Kwok, K. W., & Chong, S. A. (2020). Advancing research to eliminate mental illness stigma: The design and evaluation of a single-arm intervention among university students in Singapore. Frontiers in Psychology, 11.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, September 17). The Rate of College Students Seeking Treatment for Mental Health. Retrieved from https://psychologywriting.com/the-rate-of-college-students-seeking-treatment-for-mental-health/

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, September 17). The Rate of College Students Seeking Treatment for Mental Health. https://psychologywriting.com/the-rate-of-college-students-seeking-treatment-for-mental-health/

Work Cited

"The Rate of College Students Seeking Treatment for Mental Health." PsychologyWriting, 17 Sept. 2022, psychologywriting.com/the-rate-of-college-students-seeking-treatment-for-mental-health/.

References

PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'The Rate of College Students Seeking Treatment for Mental Health'. 17 September.

References

PsychologyWriting. 2022. "The Rate of College Students Seeking Treatment for Mental Health." September 17, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/the-rate-of-college-students-seeking-treatment-for-mental-health/.

1. PsychologyWriting. "The Rate of College Students Seeking Treatment for Mental Health." September 17, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/the-rate-of-college-students-seeking-treatment-for-mental-health/.


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PsychologyWriting. "The Rate of College Students Seeking Treatment for Mental Health." September 17, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/the-rate-of-college-students-seeking-treatment-for-mental-health/.