Colleges and universities struggling to meet the growing demand for student mental health services

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- College senior Kaitlin Reeves struggles with anxiety and depression. But when things get bad, she knows there is help close by --at the mental health center on her school campus.

"It made me feel more comfortable knowing they were always on campus and helping other students like myself," said Reeves.

One study finds a 30 percent increase of students requesting services in a five-year period for things like anxiety, depression, substance abuse and suicide prevention.

In fact, the demand is so great, the American college health association says "it's outstripping our nations' universities' capabilities" to deliver the care students need.

"There could be too few staff on campus to really address the needs. If there's fewer financial resources, it may impact programming, hiring and also any kind of outreach initiatives," said Bryant Ford.

Which can lead to long wait times for appointments. But some institutions are looking to change that--building new mental health centers on campus and beefing up existing programs by adding around-the-clock mental health hotlines as well as additional screenings and workshops.

"Workshops can include anxiety reduction workshops or mood related concerns to help them manage things like depression."

Mental health experts say they hope these new centers and programs will provide students with more options.

Kaitlin says she is glad to take advantage.

"I was tired of feeling the way that I did--still do. But counseling has helped significantly," said Reeves.
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