Is Your School Invested in Mental Health Awareness?
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In a 2019 Healthy Minds Network study, 53% of college students said that they were unaware of the quality of resources on campus for students with mental health struggles.

Curious about how to tell if your school is invested in mental health awareness? You can start by seeing if your school offers these on-campus mental health resources:

  • Individual counseling appointments — Colleges may offer one-on-one counseling sessions for a short period. These sessions are confidential and free. Counselors can help college students develop positive coping skills for depression. For example, a counselor may recommend challenging an irrational thought by weighing the evidence for and against it. A counselor may also recommend self-care activities like listening to a favorite song or eating a favorite food. 

The counselor will determine the number of sessions needed during the initial appointment. If a college student needs more support, a counselor can direct them to a community referral coordinator. This coordinator can help a college student find more mental health support and resources.

  • Community advising network — A community advising network consists of a team of counselors. These counselors can help college students whose mental health struggles are impacting their academics. This network offers both informal and formal counseling sessions. If a college student doesn’t have the energy to schedule a formal appointment, this network may be a good fit.
  • Online mental health resources — Many colleges offer online mental health resources that can be beneficial if a student doesn’t feel comfortable with in-person counselors. For example, Aggie Mental Health is an online resource that a UC Davis college student can use to learn about signs of mental health struggles and positive coping strategies.
  • Group services — Group services involve a college student meeting with other college students in a group led by a counselor. This group may help participants feel less alone and more comfortable speaking about their feelings. For example, a college student experiencing homesickness may feel validated after listening to another student share similar feelings.
  • Nonemergency support — There are everyday issues that can interfere with a college student’s mental health that doesn’t lead to a crisis or require emergency care. That’s why colleges often have a nonemergency support line to help students with distressing circumstances, such as conflicts with family or roommates. For instance, UC Davis students can find nonemergency mental health support through Health 34

Importance of mental health awareness

Mental health awareness is important because your mental health impacts many areas of your life:

  • Your academics — If you’re struggling with your mental health, you may have difficulty concentrating in class. Feelings of isolation may lead you to want to skip class altogether. Falling behind in your classes can negatively affect your mental health even further.
  • Your physical health — If your mental health struggles are so consuming that you have trouble eating, sleeping and showering, that can lead to a variety of physical health struggles. If you’re only getting a few hours of sleep a night, you may have difficulty maintaining your balance while walking or climbing stairs, increasing your risk of a fall or injury. Also, not getting enough food or sleep can cause headaches, making it difficult for you to be present in class and with friends.
  • Your relationships — If you’re struggling with your mental health, you may avoid hanging out with family and friends. If friends and family members don’t know what’s going on, they may misinterpret this avoidance, which can impair your relationships.

How a vIOP can improve the mental health of college students

A Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP) includes virtual mental health services led by licensed clinicians. This program offers these key benefits:

  • Easy access — A vIOP can be completed from the comfort of your dorm room or home. For example, one of the main indicators of depression is self-isolation. Self-isolation can make it difficult for you to get the help you need. Through a vIOP, you can receive treatment that you may not have sought otherwise.
  • Consistent support — When you start a vIOP, you’ll be consistently supported the entire time you’re involved in the program. A program manager will work with you to create an account on a portal when you first begin the vIOP. For three hours for five days a week, you’ll attend group counseling run by mental health professionals. In addition, you’ll have a weekly one-on-one counseling session with a primary therapist. If needed, you can also meet with a psychiatrist to discuss medication management. In some cases, you may even have access to some information and resources after you’ve completed the program.

Lightfully U offers mental health treatment for college students

Are you a college student struggling with your mental health and wondering what resources are available to help? You’re not alone.

At Lightfully, we provide treatment that’s supported by evidence and data. This treatment prioritizes you as a whole person — not just one aspect of your life.

For college students, we have applied our treatment values to a specifically designed service for college students that we call Lightfully U. Lightfully U is a virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP). A Lightfully U vIOP represents a safe, welcoming space for college students. It includes:

  • An initial psychiatric assessment
  • 10 to 15 sessions with a peer group led by a mental health professional per week (peer groups are capped at 10 students, allowing for a more personalized experience)
  • An individual session with an experienced primary therapist every week
  • Experiential activities intended to help you apply the skills you’re learning in your therapy sessions to real-life situations

Change is possible. Interested in learning more about how we can support you as you work to improve your mental health? You can contact us. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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