February 1, 2017
Student affairs professionals understand the stresses and pressures college students face. In addition to completing classes, students are navigating personal relationships, finances, and social identities; all of which have impacts on their mental health. According to the American Psychological Association (2013), nearly half of today's college students struggle with anxiety, while over 30% deal with depression as well. There is no doubt the number of students who struggle with mental illness is increasing across campuses, and luckily more students are also seeking campus resources to help them better cope. However, as the need for mental health support services grow, are campuses also responding with appropriate resources?
As open access institutions, community colleges serve all members of their immediate communities. There are students who attend immediately after finishing high school, and others who return after years in the workforce hoping to obtain a degree or new skill-set; students who have served in our country's military and those who have recently become citizens; there are students who take classes for personal enjoyment and others who depend on community college courses to teach them everyday life skills. There is great diversity in these student populations, and thus a wide range of needs that colleges must address, including their students' mental wellbeing. Providing accessible services to all students is a challenge at any campus, but that task can be even more difficult in a community college environment where most students are also working full-time and nearly all commute to their classes.
Community colleges are often home to our most vulnerable students and are unfortunately also the most vulnerable to budget cuts when state resources begin to diminish. Our students' mental health does not stop becoming a priority when the funding stops. So, how do we ensure that programs and services continue for our students when financial support does not? How do we work with our community to make our services more accessible? The upcoming NASPA Community College Online (NCC Online) live-briefing, “Mental Health Concerns and Diminishing Resources,” explores these very questions. Three panelists will discuss the current mental health climate at their institutions and strategies for increasing awareness of services and resources.
Register here for this free discussion on Thursday, February 16th 2017 at 12 p.m. PST/ 3 p.m. EST for one hour to learn more about current research on college student mental health and work that community colleges are doing around the country to address it. We look forward to learning with you!
Dr. Adelina Silva, Vice Chancellor for Student Success, Alamo Colleges
Dr. Sang Leng Trieu, Project Director of STEP Up Mental Health Program, Ohlone College
Matthew Peterson, Director of Student Success, Front Range Community College
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