An increasing demand for mental health services by university students

An increasing demand for mental health services by university students

In 2015, the increasing demand for mental health services by university students raised a huge concern amongst teachers, parents and society in general.

In fact, the Centre for Collegiate Mental Health (CCMH) released a report that included the participation of 139 college and university counselling centres, and more than 100,000 students seeking mental health care during the academic year 2014/2015.

It is necessary to mention that according to clinicians, anxiety has surpassed depression as the leading mental health issue being faced by college students.

However, students have become more self-aware and have started seeking help at counselling centres. In fact, students have taken over more than 50% of the centres’ total capacity, increasing the average demand for this type of service to at least five times more than the average institutional enrolment.

Why is this happening? During recent years, different theories that try to explain the growth of mental health issues have surfaced, and they range from different parenting styles to lack of resilience. While there are many reasons why a student could suffer from anxiety or depression, most of them are very personal and can be identified and treated with counselling.

Therefore, it is fundamental that institutions of higher education can accommodate the increasing demand for mental health services to help at-risk students. Another option could be monitoring students’ mental health on a regular basis and identifying early warning signs and triggers before they reach a critical point. This can easily be done with the help of mobile health (mHealth) technology such as the solution offered by Monsenso. In fact, the Monsenso platform will begin clinical trials to support the treatment of anxiety disorders.

The Monsenso mHealth platform is being used to collect patients’ self-rated status and sensor-based behavioural data (e.g., physical activity, phone usage, social activity) on a daily basis. It consists of a smartphone application for patients and a web portal for clinicians. The advantage of using this method is that at-risk students that develop critical mental health conditions can be treated before the condition has a negative impact on their daily lives.

Annual Report on Mental Health. The Centre for Collegiate Mental Health. 2015.