A recent American College Health Association study found 93.8 percent of students feel psychologically overwhelmed while attending universities.
According to the New York Times, surveys show the number of college students with mental health problems of all types is steadily increasing. Many say college life is stressful.
University of Wisconsin freshman Jaclyn Hanson said mental health issues probably appear more frequently on campus “because this is a new place, and you may feel out of your comfort zone.”
UW sophomore Michael Knutson agreed.
“You’re away from home and you’re forced to integrate with other students,” Knutson said.
As mental health issues rise in number, students should be aware Madison is better prepared to handle mental health cases than most universities, according to Bob McGrath, director of Counseling and Consultation Service of University Health Services.
“Without tooting our horn, we could be the best in the country,” McGrath said.
The National Mental Health Association reports depression affects more than 19 million American adults per year. Of the cases UHS intercepts, 30 to 40 percent of those are also depression related, McGrath said.
McGrath said UW’s counseling system makes seeking treatment or counseling as seamless as possible by providing a psychologist at the lakeshore and southeast dorms.
Madison also combats suicide well, McGrath added.
“Fortunately, we’re very lucky here, I don’t know if we can take credit for it, but our suicide rate is significantly lower than other colleges in general,” he said.
Despite this, McGrath said college campuses around the nation have been “stretched to capacity” when it comes to providing for students’ mental health needs. McGrath said mental health cases have doubled since he first started working at UHS in 1990.
To address mental health issues better, University Housing has made sure the dorms keep students feeling safe. Phil Tompkins, a coordinator for UW’s residence hall communities, said housing works closely with mental health counselors and helps forward students to UHS and to the counseling groups provided by the service.
Housing also forwards information on residence life coordinators so they are better informed about how to support residents. Tompkins said Housing is able to provide for support groups outside of UHS.
Students had varying opinions of the UHS and University Housing’s mental health services on campus. Despite Knutson saying he has never been too satisfied with UHS, he added it was “getting there.” Others, however, are surprised by the breadth of UW’s services.
“I’m surprised they have [so many services] — that kind of thing doesn’t even seem school related. It’s a good thing [they tackle mental health issues],” Hanson said.