Growing number of mental health concerns among college students

Oct 4, 2018

A new study finds one in three college freshman dealt with a mental health condition before arriving at college.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley spoke to the leader of D'Youville College in Buffalo about how the school supports students with mental health concerns on campus.  

D'Youville College in Buffalo works to school supports students with mental health concerns on campus.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“We do a number of different strategies to try to address what we see as a growing population of students coming to our campus that have mental health issues,” said Dr. Lorrie Clemo, president, D'Youville College.

Dr. Clemo tells WBFO News the college is supporting a student’s mental health on a “number of levels.” The campus has a counseling center and the college teams with Crisis Services. 

Clemo said it's important to help students in their academic and life challenges as young adults.

D'Youville College in Buffalo about how the school supports students with mental health concerns on campus.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“So we do have a counseling center here on our campus, we also partner with Crisis Services and then we do wellness therapy on our campus. We, you know, have put in that sort of training so that our faculty have that mental first aid training and also, because they are in health professions are caring, compassionate and they’re also professionally trained to identify and detect those sorts of concerns or issues that a student might be having,” remarked Clemo.

Sadly, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students.  Last May in New York at Hamilton College student died by suicide in his dorm room. Federal privacy rules prevented his parents from being notified about their son’s situation.

Recently we asked Congressman Tom Reed about how this could be changed for families. He's working toward reforms.

“Your thoughts on that – how better colleges and universities can reach out to families when they see that a student may be in distress,” Buckley asked Reed.

“To me it’s about balance, it’s about reasonableness and it’s about making sure that we don’t turn a blind eye to the issue of mental health any longer. That we embrace the treatment of it, embrace the innovation and research that will potentially lead to enhanced treatments and cures of potentially mental health illness that people are suffering from. We don’t want to have those statistics, those individuals spoken in the future, I would rather talk about their huge potential life and the productive things they are doing with that life. And stay tuned – with additional legislative reforms that will allow these medical records to be combined with existing medical records and treat mental health as what I believe it is – an extension and in part of medical conditions that people suffer from,” Reed responded.

Reed is a member of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus and the House Suicide Prevention Task force.