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As we move through the month of August, many young Americans are preparing to head off to college. It is vital that steps are taken to ensure that new and returning students have access to support in times of need. Specifically, regarding mental health. It is quite common for problems with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder to arise during this stage in a person’s life. Without support via therapy and counseling, such students are at great risk of self-harm and the use of drugs and alcohol to cope with their symptoms. It is not uncommon for alcohol and substance use disorders to develop while pursuing higher education.

In modern times, there are several resources available to help students struggling with mental illness. Many campuses devote significant resources to outreach campaigns and the hiring of competent mental health therapists. Yet, despite the availability of such services, they are often underutilized by students. The Center for Collegiate Mental Health has found that 26 percent of students who utilized campus mental health services reported intentionally hurting, NBC News reports. Up from 2015, 33.2 percent had contemplated suicide.


Mental Illness On The Rise

Collegiate environments place huge demands on students. Having to juggle both work and class loads can be extremely trying for some people. Universities are seeing record numbers of students battling mental health issues, which is why it is critical that students be made to feel safe about talking with counselors. If people don’t share what they are going through, it is impossible to begin the treatment process. Untreated mental illness has long been a contributing factor in college dropout rates.

“What has increased over the past five years is threat-to-self characteristics, including serious suicidal thoughts and self-injurious behaviors,” said Ashley Stauffer, project manager for the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State University.

More than three-quarters of all mental health conditions arise before the age of 24, according the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Please take a moment to watch a short video from NAMI to help students:

If you having trouble viewing the video, please click here.


You Are Not Alone

NAMI provides guides for parents whose children may be struggling with mental illness. Which could be of great benefit. The success of your child’s recovery depends upon your full support. Having open, regular discussions about your child’s mental state can go a long way in getting them the help they may require. And, potentially mitigate the risk of self-medication with drugs and alcohol and tragedy. Below you can find a few tips

  • Know the warning signs of mental stress and when and how to seek help. Check out the college’s resources.
  • Let your child know that mental health conditions are common — one in five college students — so they don’t feel alone.
  • Because of privacy laws, come up with a plan in advance for which information about mental health can be shared with the parent.


Treatment Works

Students who are unable to access mental health resources commonly turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. This behavior often leads to a co-occurring addiction disorder. It is quite common for young people with depression, et al. to develop substance use disorders during the college years. If you are living with an untreated co-occurring disorder, or your adult child is, please contact Hope by The Sea. We can help you begin the journey of recovery, while keeping in mind that continuing education is of the utmost importance. Through working a program of recovery, one will be in a far better position to succeed in college.