Survey informs of the need for counseling

By Ruth Padawer MCT

HACKENSACK, N.J. – More students at the nation’s top colleges are using mental health services than three years ago, according to a study released Wednesday by a national organization of anxiety-disorder specialists.

At a time when most college applicants will soon learn whether they have been admitted to their school of choice, the Anxiety Disorders Association of America survey of leading universities and liberal arts colleges aims to raise awareness of the pressing need for schools to provide adequate counseling services.

The upcoming freshman class will be the largest in U.S. history, and that’s especially relevant given that mental health problems often manifest themselves during the college years.

“With such a large number of kids having mental health problems,” said the association’s president, Jerilyn Ross, “it’s prudent for a parent to get the information about mental health services available on campuses beforehand.”

Here’s what the survey found:

– Liberal arts colleges reported a higher proportion of students using mental health services (average of 23 percent of students) than at national universities (13 percent).

– A growing number of students now come to schools with a history of diagnosed mental illness.

– Almost three in 10 national universities and two in 10 liberal arts colleges reported an increase in the severity of mental health problems among their student patients.