Anxiety, depression are still the top reasons students visit counseling centers

Students are also seeking care for issues related to oppression

A new survey from the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors finds that for the sixth consecutive year, anxiety tops the list of conditions reported by students seeking care at campus counseling centers. 

The most common conditions reported by students seeking help in the 2014-2015 academic year, in terms of average percentages, were:

  • Anxiety (47.3%);
  • Depression (40.1%);
  • Relationship issues (32.5%);
  • Taking psychotropic medication (26.1%);
  • Suicidal thoughts/behaviors (20.2%);
  • Having extensive/significant prior treatment histories (14.7%);
  • Engaging in self-injury (12.8%);
  • Alcohol abuse/dependence (10.6%);
  • ADD or ADHD (8.8%);
  • Learning disability (8.8%);
  • Issues of oppression (racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.) (8.7%);
  • Sexual/physical assault (8.3%);
  • Substance abuse (other than alcohol) (7.7%);
  • Eating disorders (7.0%); and
  • Being stalked (2.3%).

Structuring and delivering student mental health services

The survey findings are largely in line with those from the previous year, with the exception of counseling help related to issues of oppression.  Just 6.6% of students sought counseling for issues of oppression in the 2013-2014 academic year, compared with 8.7% from in 2014-2015. Such counseling has also coincided with more minority professionals being hired at counseling centers, spurred by protests from minority students.  

The survey also found that smaller colleges reported shorter waiting lists for students seeking treatment. Colleges with 1,501 to 2,500 students reported an average of eight weeks a year in which waiting lists were used, while colleges with 25,001 to 30,000 students used waiting lists for 23 weeks a year on average.

The average number of students on waiting lists exceeded 50 at colleges with more than 15,000 students, while it was as high as 70 for colleges with 30,001 to 35,000 students (Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, 7/5). 

Managing student mental health needs and related concerns at small colleges and universities


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