At EAB, our research agenda is driven by you. That’s why our annual topic poll asks senior student affairs officers where we should focus our work.
This year, more than 100 responses informed us where you’d like to see EAB’s research venture. One consensus stood out amongst other topics: how do other institutions meet the escalating demand for campus mental health services? Four out of five members identified this as a critical topic for the coming year and more than half said it was one of their top three priorities.
“Our numbers keep going up… I don’t think there is a plateau”
In the U.S., demand for campus mental health services has been swiftly and steadily rising. According to national data from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Pennsylvania State University, from 2010-2015 the average level of counseling center utilization grew at six times institutional enrollment. Data from Canadian universities and colleges reflect similar trends.
“If I invest any more, I’ll have a fleet of counselors in my division”
In response to the increasing demand for services, many institutions have been investing in additional staff and resources for campus counseling. In Canada, a recent survey found that 14 of 15 universities and colleges increased their budgets by an average of 35% over the past five years. In the U.S., 2016 data from the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors found that 42% of surveyed counseling centers gained staff in the last year.
“We can’t continue down the traditional path”
Despite these significant investments, institutions are still unable to keep pace with demand. In our research interviews with more than 80 senior student affairs officers, counseling center directors, and other experts and practitioners, we’ve resoundingly heard that institutions cannot expect to staff themselves out of the increasing demand. Instead, progressive institutions recognize a need to transform the way we interact with and serve students.
“We need a long-term solution”
At this year’s national meeting, we’ll debut our research on how institutions are successfully creating a suite of interventions that maximize the strained resources of campus counseling centers and are closely tailored to students’ individual needs. Meeting attendees will hear and participate in discussions on how to:
- Define and execute a sustainable scope of service in an era of increased demand and limited resources
- Build students’ mental health literacy through non-clinical interactions and early interventions
- Maximize clinical resources by increasing operational efficiencies and exploring new operating models
- Reenergize group therapy as a way to meet students’ rising areas of concern
- Promote successful off-campus care for students and new graduates
How institutions are meeting the escalating demand for mental health services is only one of the topics that we’ll be covering at this year’s national meeting. Learn more about our full agenda.
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