Of Note: Unbundling Mental Health Options on Campus

Submitted By:
Stephanie Lipkowitz, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque, NM

Overwhelmed: the real campus mental-health crisis and new models for well being by Sarah Brown
The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 1, 2020

The Chronicle of Higher Education's most recent report has much to offer independent school educators in secondary school environments. The report gives a succinct overview of the well-established research on the soaring rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidality among students, and it breaks new ground as it describes innovative models and campus-wide wellness programs being implemented in a wide array of undergraduate settings. The problem, the report argues, is that the traditional model of a single mental health center, offering primarily individual talk therapy to students, is ineffective; these clinics have been completely overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of students, many of whom neither want nor need long term talk therapy and end up on long waiting lists to receive services. Counselors at the secondary level will be heartened by the many creative and comprehensive solutions colleges have employed. For example, some colleges have eliminated long waiting lists by creating systems for same day access for any student, which then includes an assessment leading to multiple options for services ranging from workshops on mindfulness, to peer counseling, to healthy sleep initiatives, to digital detox retreats. For secondary schools looking to improve a wellness program, rethink the roles of mental health professionals in their schools, or focus on the health of students they are sending off to college, this slim volume is packed with ideas and a sense of the possible.

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