CALIFORNIA: UC Steps Up Efforts to Address Student Mental Health
April 15, 2016
UC steps up efforts to address student mental health
At the University of California (UC) campuses, as at other campuses across the U.S., students are reporting increasing levels of distress and the demand for mental health services is growing. The University of California is addressing this problem in part by hiring 85 new clinicians across its system, including ones from diverse backgrounds with cultural competency skills. This move will increase access to services and decrease wait times for appointments. The expansion of mental health services is being supported by an increase in the yearly student services fee, a step supported by student leaders. “I see it as an investment in the retention of students,” said UC San Diego senior Sarah Feteih, student outreach coordinator for the UC CAPS Wellness Peer Education Program. “I think it will have a really big impact.” The other major approach to addressing student mental health needs is adding new outreach and prevention efforts and enhancing current ones. Initiatives for students will include an anonymous online suicide prevention screening program, mental health awareness campaigns, training videos, a mental health website, and enhancement of mental health peer educator programs. For faculty and staff there will be a guide to help them recognize and respond to students in distress, and for clinicians there will be an e-mail list and a series of conferences to share best practices across the UC system.
Spark Extra! For more information on developing college and university mental health interventions, see Campus MHAP.