College Students Check in at Mental Health Kiosk

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The numbers are staggering - at least one estimate says almost one out of every 10 college students seriously considered suicide. A lot of people don't want to even talk about it. But one university is the first in the U.S. to give students the tools they need - right at their fingertips to fight those deadly odds.

Blowing off steam. It's a key part of college; because if you can't, the pressure too often can turn deadly.

"When you finish the first one it's like ok, now we have to study for the next quiz, so there's always something to be stressed about," said Drexel University Sophomore Isaac Adams.

Anna Gibbons, Drexel University Active Minds member told Ivanhoe, "College is a really rough time, the transition period is super brutal."

It's stress that can lead to anxiety, depression, binge-drinking and even worse. But too many students avoid seeking help at campus counseling centers.

Paul Furtaw, PsyD, Associate Director of Counseling at Drexel University in Philadelphia told Ivanhoe, "They worry that they'll be seen as crazy, lazy, stupid, or bad, those are the things they tell us when they finally make it there, and I waited too long because this place means that I have a problem."

Paul Furtaw knows delay can be deadly. So he's using the MindKare kiosk to help Drexel University's tech-savvy students who may be suffering.

Furtaw said, "Having the kiosk, they get to take charge of it, that information is known only to them, it's totally confidential, totally anonymous, it's free, it's quick."

Quick enough that anyone who answers some questions gets immediate feedback about whether they have a problem, and, if necessary, the numbers to call and places to go for help.

Gibbons told Ivanhoe, "I hope first off it makes them realize that taking care of mental health is not something to be ashamed about, it's something you can talk about."

Furtaw said, "We want you to survive this experiment called school we don't want you to just make us look good we want you get through this in one piece and thrive."

It's the first of its kind in the nation, but Drexel officials don't want it to stop here. They want to save as many lives as possible.

Since last May, hundreds of students have used the kiosk in person and online. Many have told counselors they got help for mental health issues because they answered the questions.
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