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Colleges Go Virtual to Address Growing Mental Health Needs

The coronavirus is taking a toll on students’ mental health, and colleges are turning to virtual services to help learners cope during the pandemic.

Experts say students may be struggling with feelings of isolation and heightened anxiety from economic hardship and unknowns about the virus. In turn, already-strained counseling centers are seeing or expecting increased demand.

But colleges should carefully evaluate virtual services and consider their limitations, according to the Higher Education Mental Health Alliance’s (HEMHA) recent guide, College Counseling from a Distance.

In a recent survey of more than 45,000 students attending public research universities, roughly one-third screened positive for major depressive disorder and 39% screened positive for generalized anxiety disorder.

Around 60% of students in a separate survey said the pandemic has made it harder to access mental healthcare. That survey covered nearly 19,000 students and was conducted between March and May. A higher share of students also reported their mental health harmed their academic performance during the spring than last fall.

With the coronavirus hindering in-person services, colleges are turning to virtual offerings to help students with their mental health. Several colleges, for example, are providing students with apps to access mental health services or contracting with teletherapy providers.

InsideTrack, a student services nonprofit, is using $500,000 in grants to launch an emergency coaching network for up to 5,000 college students who are experiencing pandemic-related challenges, such as mental health issues or financial hardship.

The College of Charleston, which has in-person classes this fall, is teaming up with the nearby Medical University of South Carolina to bolster its mental health services.

Other schools are spearheading mental health initiatives they hope will benefit their surrounding communities.

Excerpted from “Colleges go virtual to address growing mental health needs” in Education DIVE. Read the full article.

Source: Education DIVE | Colleges go virtual to address growing mental health needs, https://www.educationdive.com/news/colleges-go-virtual-to-address-growing-mental-health-needs/585456 | © 2020 Industry Dive

A screening can help you determine if you or someone you care about should contact a mental health professional. CHC teletherapy services are available now.  Call or email our Care Managers at 650.688.3625 or careteam@chconline.org to set up a free 30-minute consultation appointment.

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