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College Consultation Services

Entry into higher education is a time of many transitions.  College is often the first-time students live independently from their parents and usually coincides with becoming a legal adult.  The level of supervision on campus is less than it was at home and expectations around self-care, managing finances, medical and mental wellbeing, and academics are intensified.  For the first time in their lives, students are responsible for themselves at a time when they are challenged in many ways including intellectually, personally, and sexually.  Students’ responses to these challenges play a large part in determining the adults they become. 
A growing body of evidence suggests that more students now struggle emotionally.  Utilization of on-campus counseling centers is rising from 19% of students in 2007 to 34% in 2017.  Half of college students report having felt so depressed at some point they were unable to function and over 60% have reported “overwhelming anxiety” in the past year.  Up to twenty percent report having seriously considered suicide, and almost half binge drink.  Each year about 1,100 college students commit suicide and 1,700 die from alcohol related deaths.  More students now enter college diagnosed with psychiatric illness and receive medications.  One third of students surveyed are taking medication and fifteen percent report having been diagnosed with depression at some time.  Earlier and more effective treatments for children and adolescents allow students with more serious illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, to pass high school and enter college.  Mental health resources in the community are limited and not readily available so students and their families turn to college counseling centers to treat more severe mental health conditions.  In 2006, five percent of colleges provided psychiatric services on campus.  By 2007, that number had risen to sixty-three percent.

Campus counseling centers are expert in helping students manage the developmental challenges in this period between youth and adulthood.  An academic psychiatry department has expertise in treating mental disorders and has expertise in procedural and policy issues raised by having students with mental illness on campus.  A collaborative relationship between the college counseling center and the university psychiatry department combines these respective strengths to offer a novel and comprehensive approach to help students successfully navigate this transition to adulthood.

Contact Us

Brian Skehan, MD, PhD
Department of Psychiatry
UMass Memorial Medical Center
55 Lake Avenue North.
Worcester, MA. 01655
Phone: (508) 856-6538