mental health

mental health

Students Are Now Majoring in Emergency Managent and Disaster Response

The devastation in Japan left many students asking what they could do to help.

When I was in kindergarten, the OKC Murrah Building was blown up by a bomb. This experience was quite shocking for me, but since it was not in my town, I was not nearly as affected by this disaster as Carlene Pinto. When Pinto was in middle school, she watched the second World Trade Center Tower crash to the ground and then walked home as paperwork and dust fell from the sky all around her. Lindsay Yates was another young child who saw disaster strike her hometown when Hurricane Fran killed 24 people in her state. What do we three women have in common besides tragic events in our childhoods? We could all study disaster mental health at SUNY New Paltz.

The university is one of many schools that are now offering programs that focus on emergency management and disaster response. This new trend is in direct response to the numerous catastrophes that have plagued our nation and the world in recent years. In 2001, there were only about 70 emergency-management programs in the USA; today, that number is more than 230.

“This generation has never known a time without terrorism or disaster, and I think it has drawn many of them to this field,” said Karla Vermeulen of the Institute for Disaster Mental Health. “They were 10 at the time of 9/11 and 14 during Katrina, and it’s really shaped them.”

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Technology is Helping Counselors Meet Student Demand

It’s no surprise to hear that college students get stressed out but the increased number of students seeking mental health resources has forced college campuses to address overflowing waiting rooms.

College counseling centers across the country have seen an influx of students asking for help with stress and depression. Recent high tech innovations have allowed for the streamlining of intake and help mental health experts to address high risk students more immediately.

There is no proof whether students are currently more depressed or if the negative stigma of seeking help for mental health is slowing dissipating. No matter the cause, it is important for counseling centers to analyze the needs of patients and prioritize treatment by risk. Students found to have high risk depression should be treated more immediately and with more observation.

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More Mental Health Problems in College Freshmen

College freshman are experiencing more mental health problems than ever, according to a study conducted at UCLA‘s Higher Education Research Institute.

“More students are arriving on campus with problems, needing support, and today’s economic factors are putting a lot of extra stress on college students, as they look at their loans and wonder if there will be a career waiting for them on the other side.” said Brian Van Brunt, director of counseling at Western Kentucky University and president of the American College Counseling Association.

“The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2010” surveyed over 200,000  full-time freshman students at four-year colleges and found that a significant percentage of students rated their mental  health as “below average.” Additionally, merely 52 percent of  students said their emotional health was above average. In 1985, it was 64 percent.

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Not Enough College Counselors for Students

College was the most stressful time of my life. With classes, extra curriculars, studying and a part-time job, I was in a constant state of stress. Though I was able to manage my stress levels with breathing techniques and exercise, I often wonder if I would have sought help if I couldn’t cope with my new-found anxiety.

Even if I decided to get help, I wouldn’t necessarily know how to find it. I went to a small, private school, and if there was a counselor specializing in mental health on campus, I most certainly didn’t know about it.

Students’ mental health needs are growing and there are not enough counselors to keep up with the increase, according to one survey. For every 1,600 students, there is only on counselor to help, the American College Counseling Association recently reported.

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Arizona Shooter Jared Lee Loughner’s Mental Health Points to Greater Need in Colleges

Brooke Randolph, LMHC is a private practice counselor and mental health expert for

Much has been speculated about the mental health of Jared Lee Loughner, the 22-year-old man accused of shooting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and several others over the weekend in Arizona. It has been interesting to me to read the journalists’ attempts at gathering symptoms and making an assessment. It is true that late teens and early twenties can be the time when more severe mental illnesses reveal themselves. I am not ready to diagnosis him. I have not, like Dr. Jeff Victroff, read Loughner’s writings or viewed the videos attributed to him on YouTube.

One thing discussed in several articles is the fact that his behavior in class made several other students at Pima Community College uncomfortable, to the point that he was required to have a mental health evaluation prior to returning to class. It appears that Mr. Loughner was not evaluated and did not return to class. I would guess that Pima does not have a counseling center that could have completed the evaluation for Mr. Loughner; although, this was probably only one of many reasons why he did not follow through with this recommendation. Read the rest of this entry »

The Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

School, work and personal-life stresses have a way of piling up at the worst times; in the dead of winter when you’re faced with short days and little-to-no sunlight. Depression that recurs each year, in the fall or winter months, is called Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is caused by a lack of sunlight and other external factors. The following questions can help you decide if you might have SAD. Keep in mind that many of these symptoms can be caused by normal emotions. It’s important to trust your instincts if something doesn’t feel right.

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