How colleges and universities can address the mental health impacts of domestic violence

October 26, 2023

How colleges and universities can address the mental health impacts of domestic violence

Amaura Kemmerer, LICSW 
Executive Vice President of Client Engagement 

Falling in love as a young adult should be exciting and new. Unfortunately, some relationships, even those that may seem exciting at the start, can take a dark turn, resulting in violent behavior or sexual assault. Domestic violence, or intimate partner violence (IPV), is sadly far too common on college campuses.  

Domestic violence is defined as abusive behavior in any relationship where one partner maintains power and control over another. The abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, psychological, or technological. Though anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, young women and trans young adults are at greater risk. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), women between 16-24 experience domestic violence more than any other age range and almost three times the national average. According to the Williams Institute, transgender people may experience similar or higher levels of IPV as compared to cisgender people, with lifetime IPV among transgender people ranging from 31.1%to 50.0%. 

The statistics on domestic abuse on college campuses are especially alarming. NCADV reports that 43% of college women reported experiencing violent or abusive behaviors from their partner, and one in five women were sexually assaulted during their college tenure. Data from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reveals that 26.4% of undergraduate females, 23.1% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) students, and 6.8% of undergraduate males have experienced sexual assault. The rate is lower in graduate and professional students (i.e., 9.7% of females and 2.5% of males; data were not collected on trans graduate students’ experiences). 

Unsurprisingly, victims of domestic violence and sexual assault are likely to struggle academically. Studies show that the stress of abusive relationships may cause students’ grades to drop or they may withdraw from school altogether.   

Given the prevalence of domestic violence and sexual assault in the college population, colleges and universities can take measures to support victims. In some populations of students, particularly LGBTQ+ students, there is a lower likelihood of reporting IPV and subsequently receiving appropriate support. Providing access to a 24/7 Clinical Support Line gives students instant access to licensed clinicians who can offer a safe space for students to confide during especially vulnerable circumstances. Additionally, colleges can also provide mental health counseling options for students, which can support students coping with the trauma of domestic violence and sexual assault.  

For students going through traumatic events that can impact their mental health, such as domestic violence and sexual assault, the resources offered through Christie Campus Health can be a valuable addition to the services already provided by a college or university through confidential resource centers and Title IX offices. Christie partners with higher education institutions to provide customized solutions for students to address various needs. In addition to a 24/7 Clinical Support Line and mental health counseling options (in-person and teletherapy), Christie’s services also include virtual prescribing clinics; Navigators to assist with referrals and specialty care; science-backed meditation and mindfulness tools through the Headspace app; and SilverCloud, a self-directed and clinically validated Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (ICBT). Contact Christie Campus Health to learn more.   

Addressing Substance Use Among College Students Can Improve Mental Health

Substance abuse among college students remains one of the most significant and complicated problems facing higher education today. Not only does it impact the student’s life but also their family, friends, and community. Many students face academic failure, addiction problems, unintentional injuries and more. Early detection of substance misuse can improve outcomes around mental health and student success.

Read More

How higher ed institutions can mitigate the mental health impact of financial stress for students 

Most college students hope to achieve financial stability. However, preparing to live independently for the first time, finding their first postgraduate job, paying off student debt, all while supporting themselves financially can be overwhelming and daunting. But now, with skyrocketing housing costs and an uncertain economic forecast, students’ worries about their financial future are rising along with inflation.  

Read More

University of South Dakota Offering 24/7 Mental Health Support to Students through Partnership with Christie Campus Health

Christie Campus Health announces that it has partnered with the University of South Dakota, the state’s flagship university, to offer its students access to a 24/7 Clinical Support Line. The platform will be available to the university’s 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

Read More