MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – Nationally, higher education institutes are seeing an increase in the number of students experiencing anxiety and depression.
According to a 2018 study by the American College Health Association, it’s negatively impacting their academic performance.
Kansas universities are no different. Kansas State University has experienced a 14% increase in the number of student’s counseling visits, and a 3% increase in crisis appointments, which occur when a student feels of harm to themselves or others.
“Given budget realities, we’ve had to work within the resources that we have,” Vice President for Student Life Thomas Lane said.
Approximately $1 million of the university’s budget is spent on counseling services, Lane said. Despite this, students are having to wait almost three weeks to speak with a counselor due to lack of staff.
Lane hopes the Kansas Legislature will consider mental health services for students when making decisions regarding higher education during next year’s session, which begins in 2020.
“As we’re thinking about resources to higher education, I would hope that student well-being would be one of those important factors that they consider in terms of how they decide to allocate resources,” Lane said. “I think it’s a really important issue.
Currently, K-State is beginning a partnership with JED Campus to see what can be improved in regard to student well-being. This four-year partnership includes seven steps:
- Promoting social connectedness
- Identifying students at risk
- Increasing help-seeking behavior
- Providing mental health and substance abuse services,
- Following crisis management procedure
- Restricting access to potentially lethal means
- Developing life skills
Lane is hopeful this partnership will conclude with positive improvements campus-wide.
The university is also wanting to make staffing changes, including hiring a case manager to handle specific tasks so the counselors on staff are able to see more students.