Seventy-five percent of mental health disorders develop by the age of 24 and nearly half of all college-age students are experiencing depression, anxiety, or both conditions and in the past year, 13% of college-age students considered suicide. These are just some of the reasons why we all need to invest in young adult mental health.
At the GDBHT 2022 Summit, Mantra Health led a panel on “Why You Should Invest in Young Adult Mental Health Care,” which featured Lyn Morris, LMFT, CEO of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, and Nora Feldpausch, MD, Medical Director of Mantra Health, moderated by John MacPhee, CEO of the JED Foundation.
Despite the prevalence of mental health issues, not all college-age adults know how to manage difficult emotions, cope with stress, or seek help when they need it. In order to promote help-seeking behaviors and overall mental health, it is critical to advance mental health services for young people. Doing so requires an investment in mental health resources, education, and awareness so that young people recognize their mental health issues and know how and where to seek help.
“This is the age group where the majority of the more severe mental illnesses start to present themselves,” said Dr. Fledpausch, “And we know from the data that identifying these disorders and treating them effectively has a huge impact on outcomes. I think we really have an opportunity to address their mindset and to train them how to think about and monitor their own well-being in a way you don’t necessarily have in younger kids or in older adults.”
Benefits of Investing in Young Adult Mental Health
Young adult mental health is a long-term investment. When mental health conditions go undiagnosed and untreated, it has a ripple effect on the college community. Investing in mental health not only contributes to happier, healthier young adults, but also fosters a more promising future for all of us. When college students graduate, they become alumni, join the workforce, and become the next generation of leaders.
Right now, there are few mental health professionals working in young adult mental health care and among those working, many are overburdened and unable to meet the growing demand. Identifying, recruiting, and retaining mental health professionals who have experience treating this specialized population is no easy feat, Dr. Feldpausch points out. It’s even harder to find diverse providers with unique specializations who can work with students from marginalized populations who already face barriers to quality care.
Institutions can’t afford to not address mental health. According to the most recent Healthy Minds Study, 30% of students who have depression will drop out. Based on this data, if you provide 500 students mental health care, then you can potentially save 30 students from dropping out – and this can ultimately save you $1.2 million in tuition costs and $3 million in lifetime earnings.
Institutions can also prevent crises and emergencies by implementing crisis counseling services, Morris explains. Before calling law enforcement and recruiting local hospitals, institutions should establish a crisis call or text line for immediate mental health needs. When using Didi Hirsch services, 95% of crisis calls are deescalated and this prevents an expensive and traumatic event from happening, but also protects the health of the student.
Bridging the Mental Health Care Gaps in Higher Education
Traditionally, students have only had one way of accessing mental health care on campus – by visiting their campus counseling center. While that option must be available, that’s not always conducive for students who work during the day, live off campus, have no transportation access, don’t feel comfortable with in-person visits, or don’t have direct access to diverse providers. This is why colleges and universities must look outside their campus offerings to expand their mental health care for students.
Employing a team of five for a student body of 5,000 isn’t enough anymore. You must invest in additional resources, such as 24/7 crisis care and psychiatry via telehealth. It’s hard to find mental health professionals in any city, let alone those with experience in young adult mental health. Investing in a provider who can work in collaboration with your existing center can not only ease the burden on campus counselors, but also expand the offerings for students.
When considering a mental health provider, here’s what Dr. Feldpausch suggests asking:
- What are the company protocols around standard of care?
- How is provider time allocated and where are providers recruited from?
- Are providers specialized in young adult mental health and do they have the up-to-date training needed to support your student population?
- How does the provider handle mental health risks and how can they respond in conjunction with your university protocols?
- How does the company deliver its service and what outcomes are evaluated?
- Does the provider have the ability to work directly with your campus and your counseling center, so that no student goes unaddressed or untreated?
Mantra Health invests in young adult mental health by bringing providers of therapy and psychiatry to college students. By increasing access to mental health professionals and working alongside on-campus services, Mantra Health supports young adults for better mental health that can impact their well-being for a lifetime.
Didi Hirsch, one of our dedicated partners, provides mental health, substance use disorder and suicide prevention services and has the nation’s first Suicide Prevention Center in the nation. In addition to providing 24/7 bilingual crisis support through call or text, Didi Hirsch also offers suicide prevention trainings and workshops so staff and faculty are prepared to identify and intervene when a problem arrises.
It takes all of us to invest in the future of the world by investing in better mental health for young adults today. To learn how we can work together to invest in young adult mental health, get in touch with a member of our partnership team. You can also watch the complete GDBHT panel discussion here.