June 5, 2019

student with anxiety
Student Anxiety Continues to Rise, Part 2: Campus Response
Last week in " Student Anxiety Continues to Rise, Part 1: The Data," we examined recent preliminary findings from researchers at the University of California (UC) Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans at the Goldman School of Public Policy that found the percent of students who reported being diagnosed or treated for anxiety disorder in the last 12 months doubled between 2008 and 2016 from 10 to 20 percent. This week, we take a look at how colleges and universities have been responding to the increase in student mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Across the country, institutions of higher education (IHEs) are taking a variety of approaches to help students in need. Reducing stigma and encouraging conversation about mental health is a key approach more IHEs are engaging in regularly. Many are beginning to tailor orientation sessions around mental health information in addition to ones normally provided on drugs, alcohol, and sexual assault/bystander intervention. At Northwestern University, organizers shifted from expert speakers to student testimonials following student feedback. Student actors read the narratives of alumni describing their mental health challenges and how they sought help.
Another way to help reduce stigma is to encourage students to monitor their own mental health through screenings. Drexel University's Recreation Center has a mental-health kiosk where students can "get a checkup from the neck up" by answering a series of questions on a private screen and then receive information on mental health resources and supports as needed. UCLA offers a more formal screening option as part of a four-year study, the UCLA Depression Grand Challenge, which features a 15-minute online assessment where participants learn whether they might have mild to severe anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts. Students can receive mental health treatment, including counseling services, a referral to receive trained peer support, or the option to participate in an interactive online program called  This Way Up.
Unfortunately, the reality remains that students typically have to wait almost seven business days for their first appointment with a college counselor according to the 2017 report (PDF) from the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors. Though many IHEs are increasing clinical positions in counseling centers, others are looking for innovative options to address needs.
The University of Texas developed a crisis-response system following a 2010 shooting on campus. This system is now used to assess all students seeking mental health services and also refers many students to one of the 30-40 counseling groups the campus administers each semester. The groups show students they are not alone and also help reduce the load on university counselors.
Penn State University established six drop-in clinics in places like residence halls and student unions where students can consult with a licensed therapist without having to make an appointment. The University of Michigan has 12 "embedded" counselors, including psychologists and social workers, in its schools of engineering, dentistry, and pharmacy. Other schools have full-time counselors in place.
After the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, many IHEs began hiring case managers. As a result, a new organization was formed, Higher Education Case Managers Association (HECMA). HECMA's mission is to provide members with a professional identity and resources to advance recommended practices, knowledge, and research in order to promote and enhance the well-being of campus communities. HECMA expects to have approximately 900 members by the end of 2019.
For more information or resources for your campus community, please visit Jed Foundation, Active Minds, and search our online library using the tag "mental health."

Register today!
Join Us for Our June 2019 Webinar with SEVP
There's still time to register for our monthly Campus Public Safety Online webinar. On Tuesday, June 11 at 2 PM ET, Kimberly Large, field representative from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program  (SEVP), will present Get to Know SEVP: An Introduction to Working with International Students .
SEVP is part of the National Security Investigations Division and acts as a bridge for government organizations that have an interest in information on nonimmigrants whose primary reason for coming to the United States is to be students. Kimberly will provide a program overview, talk about ways campus law enforcement can incorporate international students into emergency preparedness, hot topics and the latest updates on F-1/M-1 students, and resources available to NCCPS stakeholders. An overview of the international student life cycle will provide stakeholders a better understanding of processes for schools and students, as well as the government forms required to maintain status in the U.S.
This is a beginner level webinar appropriate for senior administrators, campus safety and security officers/law enforcement, emergency managers, and international education officials. Other audiences that may benefit include staff from residential life and student conduct and affairs.
For more information and to register, please visit our website .

College Basic Needs Insecurity
Download the report.
Food Insecurity on Campus
Discussions regarding the affordability of a higher education degree generally include the amount of financial aid students and families qualify for, rising tuition costs, student loan debt, and the amount of money people have available to use for education. These are the high costs, and while an important part of the conversation, aren't representative of the whole picture. For many students, the affordability of attending a college or university also comes down to questions about their daily basic needs such as: Can I afford something to eat today?
College and University Basic Needs Insecurity: A National #RealCollege Survey Report (PDF), the nation's largest annual assessment of basic needs security among college students, describes the results of the #RealCollege survey administered in the fall of 2018 at 123 two- and four-year U.S. institutions of higher education.During the 30 days preceding the survey, approximately 48% of students in two-year institutions and 41% of students at four-year institutions reported experiencing food insecurity - the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe food or the ability to acquire such food in a socially acceptable manner. While various studies show differing estimates on the magnitude of food insecurity, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign researcher Cassandra Nikolaus states that "even the lowest estimates of food insecurity highlight a serious problem on college campuses."
The #RealCollege survey results affirm that basic needs insecurity is a condition challenging many undergraduates trying to pursue credentials. The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice (Hope Center) - the organization that created the #RealCollege survey - stresses the importance of colleges and universities moving beyond food pantries as they respond to basic needs insecurity on campus. They recommend the following five action steps to support students' basic needs on campus:
  • Appoint a Director of Student Wellness and Basic Needs. This person should have a team that includes both staff members with case management skills and one individual who serves as the single point of contact for homeless students.
  • Evolve programmatic work to advance cultural changes on campus. Isolating basic needs into a single office, without broad campus support for a "culture of caring," limits efficacy. Consider the example of Amarillo College, where cultural change starts at the top, and faculty and staff are engaged along with students.
  • Engage community organizations and the private sector in proactive, rather than reactive, support. A referral to a food pantry or a shelter is a crisis response. The goal should be to refer students to support before they need it, in order to prevent a crisis. Take a look at the Houston Food Scholarship model as an alternative to simply hosting pantries, or the Tacoma program (PDF) offering Section 8 housing vouchers to college students, or the Chicago program where the city's public housing authority pays tuition for its residents who lost access to financial aid. Employers who want to hire college graduates need to be involved in creating graduates. Could your college develop a network of preferred landlords who offer deeply discounted, time-limited rates on vacant apartments to students at risk of homelessness? It is also important to engage the food service vendors on your campuses to reduce prices wherever possible and utilize Swipe Out Hunger programs.
  • Develop and expand an emergency aid program. There is no substitute for a quick influx of cash assistance right when students need it. Information about how to distribute emergency aid can be found on the Hope Center's website.
  • Ensure that basic needs are central to your government relations work at all levels. Access to public assistance needs to be further expanded for college students. In particular, we must extend the opportunity to enroll in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to college students who work less than 20 hours a week or go to school part-time, and allow college enrollment and work-study hours to fulfill job-training requirements. 
In a 2018 report, the Government Accountability Office examined what is known about the extent of food insecurity among college students and specifically their use of SNAP. We explored these findings in our March 2019 Weekly Snapshot article, " Campus Hunger in the U.S. " To learn more about supporting students in need and resources available to help mitigate hunger, food insecurity, and homelessness on campus, review our article on " Hunger and Homelessness on Campus ."

Professional Development Opportunities

Title: Food Insecurity on Campus
Organization: NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education
Date: On demand
Location: Online
Fee: Registration fee
Title: Breakthrough Strategies in Prevention Education Webinar Series: Beyond the First Year Student Experience
Organization: EVERFI
Date: September 19, 2019 at 3:30PM ET
Location: Online
Fee: Registration fee
Title: #RealCollege: A National Convening on Food and Housing Insecurity
Organization: Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice
Dates: September 28-29, 2019
Location: Houston, TX
Fee: Registration fee

For additional trainings and events, access our searchable online calendar

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This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-MU-BX-K011 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice.
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