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Closing Mental Health Services-Tammy’s Rant

I know that my goal for this website is to be a helping hand for those who care for someone who suffers from anxiety or depression or any other mental health disorder BUT today I just need to RANT about something in our local news.

Feel free to express your comments or concerns below… I am very curious what you are seeing where you live.

Recent National News

Depression on Campus has been all over the news lately. A recent article in Time magazine stated that record number of college students are seeking treatment for depression and anxiety and the schools can’t keep up.

In the spring of 2017 the Center for Collegiate Mental Health found that 40% of college students said they had felt so depressed within the last 12 months that it was difficult for them to function. And 61% said they had “felt overwhelming anxiety”.

As colleges across the nation try to keep up with the demand it is evident that many students are slipping through the cracks. Some say because the supply and demand issues the wait times are somewhat lengthy and many don’t feel it’s worth it. Others find that the stigma associated with going to a mental health counselor keeps some students away.

One would think with all this national attention to this very “at risk” age group colleges would be expanding their facilities and getting in more counselors and services to help.

Recent Local News

Last week I was checking through my local news articles and come across this headline:

Student’s Blast PA’s Largest Community College for Cutting Campus Mental Health Services while Spending Big on Renovations.

The article goes on to say that The Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) which services more than 17,000 students has ELIMINATED ALL ON-CAMPUS MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING.

Keep in mind this is the age bracket that falls into the SUICIDE is the second leading cause of death for college kids.

What a great idea to ELIMINATE ALL on-campus mental health counseling. (Sorry)

Apparently the demand for mental health services has nearly doubled in the last decade and our local community college felt that just ELIMINATING this services would be best. If someone on campus had as issue that they need to talk to someone about they head over to the dean of students and they will refer you to an OFF-CAMPUS counselor.

Let’s see…

On-campus counselor FREE

Off-campus counselor NOT FREE

How do we think this is going to fly with the average community college student does not put an extra $80.into their weekly budget for an off-campus therapy session. Even with insurance and co-pays it gets pricey and most kids will opt for more pizza and beer. Or worst case scenario look for other non-healthy and often times dangerous ways to try to get some relief.

Some Ideas

Desperate for help right now, some young adults at this particular college are coming up with some ways to help each other.

As much as I appreciate the attempt to fill the void I am not sure these would come highly recommended by me but I am just a mom looking in from the outside. At least they are trying… What do you think?

  • they are trying to start a mental health awareness club on campus
  • they have started a Facebook group for those seeking help
  • someone is offering his services as a certified peer support specialist
  • and others are talking about bringing in therapy dogs

Am I the only one who can see this having the potential to turn out very badly…or do I just watch too many Lifetime Movies?

Some Better Ideas

I decided I had better take this post in a better direction than it was heading BUT this article really got my emotions going. My daughter has taken classes at that community college as well as so many of her friends. I find it SAD that so many colleges are going this route BUT there is hope.

I know there is nothing that we can do about the choice of one local community college making a poor decision but please keep this post in mind when sending a loved one off to college. Be aware that for whatever reason they may not be able to get the resources they need.

Ask some hard questions.

Be aware of sudden mood changes.

I know that by the time your kids are in college they are technically old enough to make their own decisions, but what if they decide they are having suicidal thoughts and need to talk to someone and the sign on the door refers them to a therapist open Monday thru Friday with a three-week wait list?

Tell them they can call you ANYTIME.

Make sure they have resources that are available 24/7 stored in their phone. Hide the number under Aunt Tammy if you have to, but a Crisis Prevention Hotline should be accessible to them (even if it just might be for a friend). A number on a magnet in the dorm on a refrigerator is not always useful at the moment it is needed.

Get some off-campus help if needed but help them find the right fit.   Perhaps NOT the over-worked under-paid one that the college is sending a thousand kids to their office.  Maybe transfer a little extra into their account to help pay for the services.  Adulting for the first time is hard and many times they don’t want to admit they need help…BE AWARE!

Final Thoughts

I know all these seem like common sense things now, but I admit I missed the mark on picking up some signs and we were not always as open and honest with each other when discussing mental health. My daughter and I have come a long way but it took time and patience.

I just hope that something that is discussed on this website can help you or a loved one not make some of our mistakes and learn from us that there is HOPE.

A few months ago I wrote another article called Suicide Prevention Toolkit-Our Way.  Feel welcome to go check it out here:

https://halfcrazedmom.com/suicide-prevention-toolkit-our-way/

Nation Suicide Hot Line 1 800 273 8255

Keep fighting the good fight

Tammy

Tammy C

8 Comments

  1. Oh this makes me so mad!  I used to go to college and the counselor on campus.  I loved that because I needed it.  College is stressful.  We had a young girl commit suicide due to stress at the college I went to.  It is wrong that they are shutting that down.  I’m glad the students are trying to help each other out though. 

    • I agree it is stressful.  Seems more stressful now than when I went to school.  Thanks for your comments.

      Tammy

  2. How sad!!! I have a daughter in College in Ireland and she sees the on campus psychologist. I am so relieved to know that she gets help because she’s been fighting depression. I would have been so stressed out if there wasn’t anyone helping her on campus. This is so scary when you hear some colleges decide to close their Mental Health services. Such a poor decision knowing so many students struggle, especially the first year on campus. Of course my daughter knows she can count on me to support and help her anytime. Fortunately, we have a good relationship and she shares her struggles with me but I know it isn’t the case for many students because they are afraid to be judged. Great article and great advice on how we can help!

    • Thanks so much for sharing your experiences.  Glad that your daughter is able to seek help at her school. 

      Keep that open door between you and your daughter…I love to hear when parents understand that depression is a real thing and needs to be talked about.

      Best of luck to her in her studies.

      Tammy

  3. Oh, this is very interesting post for you to discuss here.  think that just as you have said, It is very important that the students get the healthcare that they deserve in their schools. The importance of this is that at the end of the day, they will be able to get or make good use of this. Suicide is a killing machine in the schools and only with the right counselling can depression not lead to suicide. Nice post!

  4. Wow, this was not the case far back in time. Closing down the health service was not what happened during my time and for sure people in their many didn’t go the health centre due to issues concerning depression. I think that there is need of more people who will become counsellors or life coaches. Closing down though is not the best solution to the issue. I like that you can say this. It truly is painful.

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