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Editorial: More needs to be done to provide for mental health standards in college

On March 12, 2014

Over the past few years, mental health has finally begun to receive the attention it deserves. Everyone from high school principals to the president of the United States cites it as an issue that requires more focus. UConn should join this trend and bring more awareness and support to Counseling and Mental Health Services. Our school needs to step forward and become a leader in how universities deal with mental health on campus.
Unfortunately, some of this increased focus on mental health is due to tragedies such as Sandy Hook. More recently, two suicides this year at Penn State and other cases around the country have put pressure on universities to provide better mental health services.
A study from the University of Virginia showed that suicide has surpassed alcohol as a leading cause of death among college students. Six percent of undergraduates have "seriously contemplated suicide" in the past year, according to an article in Professional Psychology.
Suicide isn't the only mental health issue on college campuses. Stress and anxiety are common and often cause or exacerbate other mental health problems. Mental health issues can interfere with a student's ability to do school work and damage their relationships with their friends, families and professors.
The modern college environment can be incredibly stressful. There's heavy pressure on students to succeed academically, socially and in work and internships. Colleges have to recognize that their demands of students need to be met with support for them as well.
Right now, CMHS offers a wide range of programs, from a stress clinic to grief counseling to one-on-one therapy. They also offer services to students who have issues with alcohol or other drug addictions, and even have end of semester coping strategy sessions to help students deal with finals week. This is a great range of offerings and it addresses the many different mental health needs of students on campus.
However, more is needed. Wait times to get an appointment for counseling for less serious issues can sometimes be long. Many students still don't have access the services they need. Insurance, co-pays and other payment issues are still a barrier to care in some cases.
UConn has done a good job of promoting CMHS recently and trying to remove the stigma associated with mental health care, but the school needs to step up their support and make sure mental health services are well funded at UConn.

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