Supporting Students’ Mental Health
Feb. 24, 2023
The 2022 Annual Report from Penn State’s Center for Collegiate Mental Health (CCMH) highlights several trends in student mental health over time. Among students who sought counseling, the report finds that freshman with high levels of academic distress and a history of psychiatric hospitalization were 48% more likely to withdraw from school. At the same time, students whose academic distress was reduced through counseling and who were participating in extracurricular activities, were 51% less likely to withdraw from school. That this is not just a pandemic-related effect can be seen in the fact that over 83% of students surveyed in the same report indicated that their reasons for seeking services were not related to COVID-19 related events.
MU’s Student Health and Well-Being office supports student mental health in multiple ways — through wellness programs, screening resources, therapy, support groups and consultation services. These services are offered online and face to face, through both primary medical care and psychiatry services. Student Health and Well-Being also offers bystander intervention services to address alcohol and drug use, interpersonal violence, bias and discrimination, and mental well-being. The faculty and staff page is a great starting point for resources and support if you aren’t sure where to go first.
We can all be a part of the solution. MU Connect flags offer a starting point where academic advisors and faculty can work together to help a student. Thanks to all our faculty, chairs, deans, and advisors, the use of these flags has increased over time. At the same time, we have an opportunity to improve the ways we address the concerns that are behind the flags. As I shared in my last newsletter, the “Support for Students in Crisis and “Support for Students with Disabilities” committees that are part of the Student Success Initiative are beginning their discussions so that we can identify specific problems and arrive at actionable solutions.
Building a culture of care, be it for students, staff, and faculty will help us all as we help each other.
Resources for Students
- TAO (Therapy Assistance Online). Mizzou students, faculty and staff have access to a suite of free online tools for well-being, resilience and behavioral health. This tool kit contains effective evidence-based resources customized for individuals’ needs. TAO replaces a similar tool, Sanvello, introduced during the pandemic.
- Urgent and crisis support is available 24/7 through the MU Counseling Center. Students can call the Center at 573-882-6601 to speak to a mental health professional. Thanks to the implementation of a rapid access model, students can now get support within 24 to 72 hours. The average wait time in the broader community is two months.
- Collegiate Recovery Program offers students in recovery a place to develop community, support for staying sober, and opportunities for sober social events.
- Individual and group exercise at MizzouRec. provides students with opportunities to engage in joyful movement, release endorphins, and enhance their overall sense of well-being.
- Mental health screening. A brief, anonymous online screening which provides feedback resources about mental health concerns.
- Nurturing Minority Wellness is a program designed to support the mental health and well-being needs of BIPOC students and other marginalized students at Mizzou.
- Reset with Meditation. Mindfulness meditation can reduce and stress and enhance overall well-being. The Wellness Resource Center offers free, in-person, guided meditation twice a week.
- Student Health & Well-Being course in One Canvas. This course provides information on a wide variety of topics to support student well-being and assist students in making decisions about their lives that are healthy for them.
- Tiger Chats. In MU residence halls, residence advisors (RAs) engage students in “Tiger chats” at least twice a semester. This practice helps RAs and students get to know each other and gives students reassurance they are known, accepted and cared about. It also gives RAs the opportunity to connect students with campus resources when students have questions or concerns. Introduced post-pandemic.
Counseling Center Services
- Brief screenings with a rapid access clinician allows providers to assess a student’s needs and make recommendations and referrals to the resources and services that best meet a student’s needs.
- Brief individual therapy is offered when it is the best intervention to meet a student’s needs. This provides an opportunity for a student to work 1:1 with a therapist in a brief therapy model.
- Anxiety Skills Class offers concrete and specific strategies for decreasing symptoms associated with anxiety.
- ADHD Skills Class offers skills and strategies for managing symptoms of ADHD.
- Reclaiming Your Roar Class offers skills and strategies for decreasing symptoms associated with depression.
- Clinical support groups support specific communities (e.g., people of color, international students, LGBTQ+, graduate students).
- Group therapy provides an opportunity for students to connect with others experiencing similar concerns and to learn and group together. Groups have a specific focus such as building and maintaining strong relationships or healing from grief and loss. The Counseling Center offers approximately 20 different groups and skills classes each semester, a number that has expanded significantly since the pandemic.
Student Health Center Services
- Primary medical care providers at the Student Health Center provide medication evaluation and management for the mental health concerns most commonly seen among young adults.
- Psychiatry services are available at the Student Health Center when specialty care is needed.
Resources for Supporting Others
- Counseling Center consultation services. Anyone concerned about a student can speak to a licensed professional from the Counseling Center to understand how they can best support the student and how to help the student access appropriate resources.
- Care Team provides case management, assisting students with finding and accessing resources supporting many aspects of well-being.
- Ask Listen Refer. A brief online course teaching our campus community how to identify someone who may be at risk for suicide, offer support, and get help for people at risk.
- RESPOND: Partnering for Campus Mental Health. A live course that offers an opportunity to learn and practice skills for supporting others and responding in a mental health crisis. Offered to faculty, staff, and students.
- Take Action for Mental Health. A brief training about recognizing mental health concerns, including suicide risk, listening and responding effectively. Offered to faculty, staff, and students.
- Mizzou Bystander Intervention Initiative works to address multiple, interconnected issues including alcohol and other drug use, issues of bias and discrimination, interpersonal violence, and mental well-being.
- MACRO Recovery Ally Training. A 30-minute online course designed to help faculty, staff, and students support individuals in recovery from substance use disorders.
- MoSafeRx Training. A 30-minute online course designed to help one recognize signs of prescription drug misuse and respond to a potential opioid overdose.
Latha Ramchand, PhD
Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs