Beyond counseling: Supporting the mental health and wellness of all students

Beyond counseling: Supporting the mental health and wellness of all students

Kaitlin Gallo, Ph.D.
Chief Clinical Officer, CCH

The state of college student mental health has been well-documented of late. Data from sources such as the Center for Collegiate Mental Health Annual Report and the Healthy Minds Study demonstrate that college students are increasingly experiencing anxiety disorders, depression, and other mental health conditions, with the pandemic exacerbating trends that had begun several years prior. 

The most recent Healthy Minds Survey data revealed that 30% of student respondents received counseling or therapy of any kind (on campus or off) in the past year, with many more students screening positive for a mental health disorder or substance use concern than received services from a clinician. Students are experiencing both diagnosable mental health conditions as well as undiagnosable challenges when it comes to mental health. For example, in the most recent Student Voice Survey published by Inside Higher Education and College Pulse, 65% of students rated their mental health as either “poor” or “fair.” In that same survey, only 15% of students surveyed reported that they engaged with their campuses’ counseling services. 

Despite their best efforts, counseling centers and community clinicians simply cannot treat every student who might benefit from therapy. There is a gap between the number of students who need counseling and the number of students who receive it, for reasons such as a mismatch between student need and clinician availability, financial reasons, stigma, or students thinking that they do not need or do not want therapy. Reaching those students who need support but who are not receiving it is of utmost importance. 

Conversely, many students who make counseling appointments may not truly need counseling but may not know where else to turn when they feel distressed. So too is it important to support the over half of students on average who do not meet criteria for a mental health diagnosis. All students will need emotional support in one way or another during their time in school, for things like homesickness, procrastination, trouble falling asleep, breakups, financial challenges, and countless other stressors that affect undergraduate and graduate students. Many of them will receive that support from friends, family, or non-clinical staff on campus like RAs, advisors, coaches, or professors. In addition to the support that can come from trusted relationships, schools can also offer tools to all students on campus to use at their convenience to help support their mental health. While everyone needs emotional support, not everyone needs counseling. That’s where the Christie Campus Health Wellbeing Bundle comes in.

The Christie Campus Health Wellbeing Bundle is a multi-faceted technology-based solution that provides students with evidence-based tools that they can access on their phones or laptop to support their mental health and wellbeing. The Wellbeing Bundle targets the entire student population, both those who are engaged in counseling and those who are not, and includes:

  • A curated Wellness & Navigation Hub with over 1,000 evidence-based articles and videos to support student mental health and wellness
  • A subscription to the premium version of the Headspace mindfulness and meditation app
  • SilverCloud, a self-directed, clinically validated ICBT program to help students address anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, alcohol use, and more, that can be used alone or with the support of a coach.

Contact Christie Campus Health today to see how easy and affordable it is to implement the Wellbeing Bundle or click here to learn more.

Improving the Learning and Lives of Community College Students Through Improved Mental Health Resources

Covid brought sharper focus to an issue that has been present at community colleges long before the pandemic: the unmet mental health needs among the country’s community college students.Compared to most four-year college students, community college students often have additional burdens that can contribute to increased mental health needs, including financial stress.

Read More

“(College counseling centers)…can't be everything to everyone.” A valuable observation from the president of the AUCCCD

A recent guest on the Quadcast by the Mary Christie Institute, Dr. Marcus Hotaling shares important advice he would give to colleges and universities that are looking to address the growing gap between demand and supply that counseling centers are grappling with today. In addition to being the President of the AUCCCD, Dr. Hotaling directly observes the latest college mental health trends as he serves as Director of the Eppler-Wolff Counseling Center at Union College.

Read More

College Student Mental Health on Spring Break: Ensuring Access to Key Services

Spring break can be a respite for some college students but that doesn’t mean that their mental health concerns can go unaddressed while they are away from campus. College students need around-the-clock access to mental health services while they are on spring break, just as they need access during all other school breaks, including summer.

Read More