Record high numbers of more college students seeking mental health help

Posted at 6:16 PM, Oct 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-03 18:21:27-04

Across the country college campuses are trying to keep up with the demand as more students are needing mental health help. But many schools are falling short and Northeast Ohio is not exception.

“At the beginning it was a little hard to manage," said Isabella Myers, a freshman at Cleveland State University.

Her friend, Sydney Caddell, also a freshman at Cleveland State University echoed the same grievance.

“My stress level has definitely increased a lot since being here," Caddell said.

They both are in part experiencing what's become the new normal for incoming college students.

“The college demands are very different now then they were back in the day when I was in college," said Dr. Vanessa Jensen, Pediatric Psychologist at The Cleveland Clinic.

Those demands Dr. Jensen said could be aiding to the increase in students seeking mental health help.

“Whether it's becoming a higher likelihood their having depression, or anxiety, or as a culture, we're recognizing it more," she said.

In 2017 The Center for Collegiate Mental Health Report found nearly 40 percent of college students sought mental health help, that number is up from 30 percent back in 2015.

“I definitely went through an anxiety phase, I pretty much shut myself in, pretty much didn’t talk to anybody,” said Calvin Fink, a senior a Cleveland State University.

He had a bout with mental health a year ago…and was thankful to have family to reach out to.

“My mom was a big support in that so, she actually really helped me through that,” he said.

But that’s not the case for everyone. At CSU, they've seen a 16 percent increase in emergency mental health related issues and a 13 percent increase in the students they see on a regular basis in just the past year with only six counselors on staff.

“They really do very short term, crisis management and getting through the school day,” said Dr. Jensen.

In the U.S. on average, there's only one campus counselor for every 1,700 students.

"They go to get the help and the college counseling centers aren't staffed necessarily to deal with it," Dr. Jensen said.

So she has advice for students who may be on the waiting list still.

“Be persistent. Talk to more than one person," she said.

Dr. Jensen also recommends students to check their parent's health insurance, because they might be able to seek help outside their college facility instead.