Half of Community-College Students Report Mental-Health Conditions

Students at community colleges are more likely than their peers at four-year institutions to be struggling with mental illnesses, but are less likely to have access to mental-health services, according to a report released this week.

The report, based on a survey of more than 4,000 students at 10 community colleges across the country, was published by the Healthy Minds Network at the University of Michigan and Wisconsin HOPE Lab at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The survey found that about 50 percent of students reported having one or more mental-health conditions. Depression and anxiety were the most common conditions among respondents. Yet only 30 percent of students reported using any medication or therapy.

About 90 percent of community colleges do not employ psychiatrists, the report says, and nearly 60 percent do not offer suicide-prevention resources. Fifty-eight percent of four-year institutions have “on-site psychiatric facilities appropriate for treating mental illness,” while less than 10 percent of community colleges have the same resources, according to the report.

Even though four-year institutions are largely better equipped to help students with mental-health conditions, they too are struggling to effectively help everyone in need. In August, The Chronicle reported that increased rates of depression and anxiety among students have put a strain on colleges’ counseling services, and that even at four-year institutions there is no consistent approach to on-campus mental-health care.

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