KU sees increase in student mental health needs

Counseling & psychological services up during May

July 31, 2018 - 1:14 pm

 The University of Kansas has seen an increase in demand for student mental health services, according to a new report.

The university's Student Affairs department has found that counseling and psychological services had a total of 120 visits in May, which is up more than 73 percent from May 2017, The Lawrence Journal-World reports .

"While people seeking mental health care may experience increased intensity and need prompt access to services, and individually may be experiencing a crisis, the overall level of demand does not present a crisis for the system," said Michael Maestas, the director of the university's Counseling and Psychological Services.

A decrease in stigma related to mental health issues and an increase in early recognition have likely contributed to the increase in demand, he said.

"Additionally, advances in treating serious mental illness have generally improved quality of life, which has enabled individuals with these illnesses to pursue a college education," Maestas said.

Anxiety and depression are the leading concerns at the university, Maestas said. CAPS also frequently deals with issues connected to problem-solving, interpersonal relationships, stress management and emotion regulation.

An anonymous donation to the university's endowment has allowed CAPS to hire additional staff, including a psychiatrist and a coordinator for student support and case management in the Student Affairs office.

The organization has also launched a peer educator team in response to the increased need, which aims to destigmatize mental health on campus and connect students to mental health resources.


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