ARLINGTON, Va.--()--Sixty-four percent of students who experience mental health problems in college end up withdrawing from school, according to a survey, College Students Speak, released today by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
“Mental illness can be treated and successfully managed, but too many students are forced to abandon promise and talent when they confront mental health issues in their college careers.”
“The numbers are dramatic. They point to a ‘shadow’ mental health crisis that colleges and universities need to address,” said NAMI Executive Director Michael J. Fitzpatrick.
“Mental illness can be treated and successfully managed, but too many students are forced to abandon promise and talent when they confront mental health issues in their college careers.
“The survey reveals an extremely important need to train college faculty and staff as a first line of defense for mental health awareness,” Fitzpatrick said.
Fifty-one percent of the students who responded to the survey experienced either depression or bipolar disorder.
The 20-page survey report is available at www.nami.org/collegesurvey, Additional findings include:
- Fifty percent of students with mental health conditions who withdrew from school never accessed college mental health services and supports, even though 70 percent of the total group rated campus services and supports as “excellent” or “good.”
- The number one barrier to lack of engagement with mental health services was fear of stigma (36 percent). Thirty-five percent of those who experienced crises said their college never learned about it.
- Seventy-nine percent of students identified mental health training for college faculty and staff as “extremely important.”
- Only 22 percent learned about college services through faculty or staff.
- Many students considered college Disability Resource Centers (DRCs) to be unhelpful because they primarily focus on physical conditions—or professors do not honor DRC-approved accommodations.
A total of 765 students living with mental illness took the nation-wide online survey from August to November 2011. This is the first time survey results have been released.
NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and scientific research.