Faculties handle worrying psychological well being developments | Schooling
In the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown and the difficult months since then, college leaders across the country have been concerned about how unprecedented times have marked the young adults they are supposed to protect.
This has special meaning for Elizabeth Kennedy, who studied and taught psychology at the University of Akron before moving to Missouri Western State University in 2020. Kennedy, President of Missouri Western, looks at this problem from a scientific perspective.
“You have to remember that our students this year were freshmen last year, only they didn’t really have freshmen; they were the ones who were isolated, “she said. “And our juniors and seniors were on campus, but that environment was essentially removed from them. It is therefore crucial to provide opportunities and opportunities for students to express their emotions.
Suicide has become the second leading cause of death in college-age adults, according to a study published in the Psychiatric Journal of Affective Disorders. September has been dubbed Suicide Prevention Month in the face of such realities, and Missouri Western has slated its graduation with an expansion of mental health services.
Kennedy and Kristina Hannon made it official at a signing event this week, and not a moment too soon, based on the nationwide data Hannon reviewed. She is determined to expand services to address the problem now, before an outbreak of crisis on a local college campus leads to the unthinkable.
“We are seeing a trend towards increasing suicide for all ages, but especially in the 18- to 24-year-old population,” said Hannon, co-CEO of the Family Guidance Center for Behavioral Healthcare. “It’s starting a really worrying trend that will affect us for years to come.”
Hannon’s St. Joseph-based organization will provide a full-time mental health worker on campus. This person will join Katie Jeffers, Missouri Western counseling director who works full-time in therapy for students, along with part-time assistants.
Jeffers said the therapist at the Family Guidance Center will be joined by a future new employee in Missouri Western. The ultimate goal is to have six mental health people on duty, each capable of treating six patients per working day.
The need for further help is evident. With the restoration of personal advice center services on the second floor of Eder Hall in autumn 2021, capacities will be full, Jeffers said.
“I feel like it’s about meeting our students where they are, definitely,” said Jeffers, who also conducts telemedicine therapy over the Internet. “But it was really very good for our students.”
Kennedy promised that the university will continue to strive to make the campus a home for its students, where the Griffon family will help them overcome any challenges they face.
“We see it on college campuses because this is a population who may be doing something for the first time in an adult world,” she said. “You live away from your family. You are trying to make new friends, new relationships, and that is a lot of stress for young adults these days. So I am very pleased that we have the opportunity to provide this support. “