Description: The article linked below is important and potentially interesting on three levels. First, if you are currently an undergraduate student somewhere then it is important because it may be directly relevant to you or to a friend close to you. Second, It is important because it shines light onto and asks important questions about a potential crisis in mental health care involving emerging adults attending post-secondary education institutions across the country. Third, it poses but only hints at possible directions we might search for answers to the important questions of where this issues came from, whether it is new or just new to our awareness and what social, developmental, and historical factors might we consider as we try to get a handle of just what is going on. Here is the “tag line:” Alarming numbers (more than before) of undergraduate students are seeking assistance at campus mental health centers across the country for issues relating to anxiety, stress, and depression and many are presenting with complex combinations of mental health issues and campus wellness centers are struggling to address the needs for assistance. So, think for a moment about which of the three levels of potential interest in this article may apply to you (perhaps all three) and then give it a read.
Source: As more students seek mental health care, they face long waits – or pay out of pocket – as universities struggle with demand, Victoria Gibson, The Globe and Mail.
Date: February 14, 2019
Photo Credit: Jackie Dives/The Globe and Mail
So, the questions you likely have in mind after reading the article linked above will vary depending upon which, or how many, of the three levels of interest/analysis noted above apply to you. If it applies directly to you or to someone you know then it describes the challenges being encountered by you in trying to obtain access to stable and reliable supports. If you are wondering where this issue came from you likely did not find much in the article to help you get traction on beginning to answer your questions. Has the incidence of mental health issues increased among undergraduate students recently or has it only seemed to do so as the result of the success of recent efforts to reduce the stigma historically associated with mental health issues? In either case the issues of the challenges to access to services and support remain but if there has been an increase then what sorts of social and psychological events and forces are at play in causing that to occur? Possible lines of thought and inquiry were hinted at in the article but not developed. If you search emerging adulthood on this blog site you will see a number of possible lines of investigation. My own view is that this is one of the most important areas currently in need of developmental inquiry to come along in quite a while. Instead of asking versions of questions like “what is wrong with post-secondary students these days” we need to try to understand the social, historical, and (developmental) psychological forces involved in producing this situation AND, regardless, we need to figure out how to fund and make available sufficient treatment and support resources that the current crisis of access to mental health care among emerging adults goes away while we are trying to figure out where it came from.
Questions for Discussion:
- Are more students (than 10 or 20 years ago) in need of assistance for mental health issues or has the number feeling able to seek assistance increased due to other factors?
- What social, historical, and developmental-psychological areas should we be looking in for possible answers to some of the questions raised by the article linked above?
- What legislative e or social policy changes might we consider in order to address this issue?
References (Read Further):
Hussain, R., Guppy, M., Robertson, S., & Temple, E. (2013). Physical and mental health perspectives of first year undergraduate rural university students. BMC public health, 13(1), 848. https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-13-848
Twenge, J. M., Martin, G. N., & Campbell, W. K. (2018). Decreases in psychological well-being among American adolescents after 2012 and links to screen time during the rise of smartphone technology.https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8a74/241e6329e14b22f9586dec9261079cdc52cf.pdf
Lukianoff, G., & Haidt, J. (2015). The coddling of the American mind. The Atlantic, 316(2), 42-52. http://lisaboyd.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/101779978/The%20Coddling%20of%20the%20American%20Mind.pdf