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Mental Health Issues for the Soon to Be College Student


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Presentation offered for students at Kenston High School addressing possible mental health impacts of the college application process and considerations for students with existing mental health conditions as they begin the transition to college.

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Mental Health Issues for the Soon to Be College Student

  1. 1. Mental Health Issues for the Soon to Be College Student Stephen Grcevich, MD Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Northeast Ohio Medical University Case Western Reserve University Family Center by the Falls Presented at Kenston High School December 2, 2016
  2. 2. Does the prospect of applying to college increase risk of depression? 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 Ages 12-13 Ages 14-15 Ages 16-17 Ages 18-20 Ages 21-25 Prevalence of Depression in Teens, 2014 % with depression PEDIATRICS Volume 138, number 6, December 2016:e20161878
  3. 3. Mental health conditions are common among teens… Among U.S. children and teens • 22% identified with at least one mental disorder • 11% have been treated with ADHD medication • 8-12% of teens experience anxiety disorders • 13% identified with developmental disorders • One in 68 are diagnosed with autism – the majority have average/superior intelligence!
  4. 4. How the college application process creates mental health issues… • Kids with OCD who struggle to come to closure on decisions • Kids with anxiety prone to misinterpret rejection • How are family members affected? • Social media adds fuel to the fire
  5. 5. Considerations during the college search process… • Military academies, ROTC scholarships • Some conditions are absolute exclusions (OCD) • Medication-free if ADHD for at least 12 months • Colleges with special supports for students with identified conditions • Landmark College (ADHD, dyslexia, autism) • Autism-specific programming (Marshall, OSU) • Learning differences (Mercyhurst, Muskingum)
  6. 6. Considerations for second semester, senior year… • Will I need mental health services in college? • Do I still need my medication? • Might a different medication be a better fit for me in college? • Transitioning away from familiar professionals
  7. 7. Once you’re accepted… • Documentation required to support accommodations in college • Housing accommodations? • Who will provide my mental health services while I’m in college?
  8. 8. Once I’m in college… • Medication issues • Getting my medication at college • Keeping medication secure at college • What do I do if I need help?
  9. 9. Confidentiality at college… • FERPA • Applies to education records, including records in counseling centers • Covers grades, accommodations, academic standing • Parents can access information if they claim you as a dependent • HIPAA • Covers protected health information • Parents only get information in emergency situation, if student is danger to self, others • Parents may get “EOB” when insurance is billed for healthcare services • Parents, family, friends may share information with mental health professionals without your permission
  10. 10. Finding mental health services at college… • Student health centers/counseling services • Counseling/therapy vs. medical services • Practitioners in the surrounding community
  11. 11. Primary concern of students seen in college counseling centers
  12. 12. Service limitations of college counseling centers… • 37% of counseling centers impose limits on number of sessions • Of centers with limits on sessions, 63% limit sessions to 12 or less • 30% of counseling centers have NO psychiatric services available
  13. 13. Ten common warning signs of a mental health condition… • 1. Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks • 2. Severe, out-of-control risk-taking behaviors • 3. Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason • 4. Not eating, throwing up or using laxatives to lose weight • 5. Seeing, hearing or believing things that are not real • 6. Repeatedly and excessively using drugs or alcohol • 7. Drastic changes in mood, behavior, personality or sleeping habits • 8. Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still • 9. Intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities • 10. Trying to harm oneself or planning to do so Starting the Conversation: College and Your Mental Health, NAMI, 2015