June 27, 2006

Colleges work more to assist students with psychiatric disorders

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping

A positive story comes to us today from Cleveland, Ohio where The Beacon Journal reports that local colleges are working to improve their mental health services for their students. The message here is that evaluating the mental health services and counseling that a college offers is just one more way to qualify whether a given academic institution is truly interested in addressing the needs of all its students.

"A rising number of college students are taking medication for mental disorders, and schools are trying to help them by adding counselors and extending health center hours.

"We see a very clear trend of more first-years entering already on psychotropic medications to manage anxiety, depression and just plain old angst of young adulthood," said Dr. Jes Sellers, director of counseling services at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Nationwide, 25 percent of students who visited counseling centers last year used medication for mental health issues, compared with only 9 percent in 1994, according to the National Survey of Counseling Center Directors' annual report sponsored by two college counseling associations.

Ohio State University has increased the hours of its psychiatrists and will add a new full-time professional in the fall.

"We still don't have enough, and the entire community doesn't have enough," said Louise Douce, Ohio State's director of the Counseling and Consultation Service. Some mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, first emerge or are diagnosed in college, she said."

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