By Danny Roberts
With mental health issues among U.S. college students on the rise, City College Student Health Services (SHS) conducted a survey on Dec. 2 requesting student feedback for the college’s Mental Health Services.
“We are committed to strengthening our mental health services for our students, ensuring that our mental health services are welcoming and accessible to students from all circumstances and backgrounds, and reducing any barriers that may prevent students from accessing them,” said the SHS email, with the electronic survey link.
Mental health is a rising concern for college campuses. More than 60% of U.S. college students met the criteria for one or more mental health problems for the 2020-2021 school year, a nearly 50% increase from 2013, according to a 2022 Healthy Minds research study of 373 college campuses.
The study also found that students of color had the lowest rates of mental health service utilization with the highest annual rate of treatment for Asian, Black, and Latinx students at or below the lowest annual rate for white students.
“In 2021-2022 we served 287 students (with 1525 appointments) and reached approximately 209 additional students through outreach events,” said the City College mental health staff when contacted via email.
“We are also working on doing more outreach. Because studies are showing that a greater percentage of people are experiencing some level of depression and anxiety, we are working on ways to reach more students.”
With the stigma around mental health issues, cost barriers to care, and uncertainty about where to seek help, the path to receiving mental help can be challenging. At City College, Mental Health Services seek to offer a safe space for students to discuss their concerns.
City College Mental Health Services provide counseling and support for a variety of issues that affect students. “All students who are taking credit classes are eligible for services and do not need to pay anything beyond the student health fee,” said City College mental health staff.
From Monday-Tuesday 9 a.m.-5:45 p.m. and Wednesday-Thursday 9 a.m.-3:45 p.m. students can access counseling through the Student Health Services virtual help center via Zoom or by phone call.
Students can receive confidential counseling to talk about whatever issues they’re struggling with. The staff provides short-term counseling to assess each student’s current situation and can refer them to appropriate community services if needed.
In-person and virtual support groups with topics like calming anxiety, a women’s support group, stress and worry management, and more are available to students. These support groups vary by semester but are listed on the student health services website.
According to the mental health staff, these services benefit students in a number of ways. “It enables students to verbalize and attenuate their distresses and students typically express that they get some relief.” In the support groups, “students validate each other and share empathy. They also learn ways of coping with their elevated or increased number of concerns.”
The need for mental help is higher than ever, but despite this increasing ease of access to care, many students don’t take the first step toward help.
“Everyone can use support at one time or another and it takes a lot of strength and courage to ask for that help,” said the City College mental health staff.
Take that first step towards help. Mental Health Services can be reached by phone at 415-239-3110 or virtually on the City College Student Health Services website at: https://www.ccsf.edu/student-services/student-health-services.