'Wide' Mental Health Support Leads Students to Seek Help

April 1, 2016

Students on college campuses where there is "wide support for mental health issues" are more than 20 percent more likely to receive mental health services and 60 percent more likely to receive that help on campus, according to a new study from the RAND Corporation.

The study, to be published in the journal Psychiatric Services, is based on an online survey of nearly 34,000 students at California colleges and universities. The researchers found that 19 percent of students reported experiencing "serious psychological distress" in the past 30 days and 11 percent reported significant "mental health-related academic impairment" in the past year, including having to drop a course. About 20 percent of all students reported using mental health services while in college.

“We found that it was not just the students’ perception of campus climate that was important,” Bradley Stein, one of the study's authors and a senior scientist at RAND, said. “On campuses where the faculty and staff felt they had adequate resources and services to support students with mental health problems, there was significantly higher use of mental health services by students, both on and off campus.”

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