Provide Mental Health Services
When students decide to seek help from professionals, they need to have access to mental health providers who can assess their problem and connect them to appropriate treatment services and resources. Unlike identification and screening activities, mental health services aim to assess, diagnose, and treat students with specific psychological issues. Thus, mental health services are provided following the successful screening and identification of a student with a particular mental health issue.
Many mental health services are provided within the counseling center. Some of these interventions may be oriented towards students who arrive at college with mental health problems, while others may focus on those experiencing mental health problems for the first time while at school. Campus counseling centers can provide brief interventions such as brief psychotherapy or group treatment. They can also provide psychoeducational groups. Researchers have found several of these activities to be effective in helping students manage and cope with their mental health problems and continue with their studies.
But mental health services do not always have to be provided within the confines of a counseling center or by counseling center staff. In fact, campuses can support mental health services that occur outside of the college counseling center. Computerized or internet-based interventions to assist students with depression, eating disorders, and adjustment issues are only a few examples of services already provided on some campuses. Many of these interventions have been adopted or modified from those found to be effective among other adolescents and young adults. Since students may seek support for their mental or emotional from campus professionals who are not trained mental health providers, campuses can consider developing trainings or other systems to provide faculty and staff with the tools they need to assist students with less severe problems and encourage them to seek mental health or other supportive services when needed.
Similarly, mental health services do not always have to occur on campus. Some campuses have relationships with off-campus agencies or providers who are responsible for providing a range of mental health services, including therapy, medication management, or emergency services. Students who are concerned about their privacy and confidentially may welcome the opportunity to receive these off-campus services, though transportation, coordination, and other issues may be present and require attention.
Regardless of where the services are located and who provides them, campuses need to consider what services are most appropriate for their students given the costs and available resources. Especially when a student has a severe mental health problem, campuses may consider referring the student to an off-campus provider who will be better equipped to assist the student and respond to the students need.