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Local News

College students’ mental health improves with adequate support

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Alex Gonzalez, Public News Service

Mental Health Awareness Month starts next week, and a new report finds a significant decrease in suicidal ideation, planning and attempts on college campuses – as well as fewer students reporting anxiety and depression.

The nonprofit Jed Foundation analyzed a decade’s worth of data from higher-education institutions that participated in their JED Campus program, which provides colleges and universities with resources to protect and improve student mental health.

Michelle Mullen, the foundation’s senior vice president and chief design and impact officer, said two Nevada schools took part in the program, and their students are now 25% less likely to make a suicide attempt.

“We work with them collaboratively to be able to identify what’s already strong and the ways in which we can strengthen it,” she said, “and are there critical pieces that may be missing to be able to enhance mental-health and suicide prevention on campus?”

Mullen said schools are at the forefront of bringing mental-health services to young adults. In Nevada, Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno and the University of Nevada Las Vegas have been part of the JED Campus program.

Mullen said mental-health challenges have risen significantly among young people, which is no surprise considering the multiple stresses and challenges younger adults face. She cited today’s “comparison culture,” brought on by social media, mass shootings, race and faith-based harassment and threats, and decreasing protections for LGBTQ+ youths.

“The amazing thing is that we are now seeing results that are coming out of our reports, that this group is incredibly resilient,” she said, “and with the right support and structure, then they do better on campus. So, there is hope and there is something we can do.”

If you or someone you know is struggling, Mullen said, the first step is to reach out to a friend, family member or mental-health professional for help. You can also call 988 for free and confidential support.

This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.