Action plan for mental health

K-State’s Lafene Counseling and Psychological Services program offers students support while giving them the tools to thrive and stay at K-State.

Struggling with mental health is a common obstacle among college students. According to The American College Health Association’s (ACHA) 2020 report, three out of five students experienced “overwhelming” anxiety, just in the past year.  Additionally, almost 40% of students who completed the ACHA survey reported feeling so depressed they had difficulty functioning. Active Minds, a national student-led organization focusing on support for college students’ mental health, echoed these findings by reporting that 39% of college students experienced a significant mental health issue.

The mental health hurdles college students encounter can have serious personal and academic consequences if left untreated. A 2012 survey by the National Alliance of Mental Illness found that 64% of students who left college early did so due to reasons related to mental health or substance use. Furthermore, a 2016 study published in Community Mental Health Journal found that components of mental health such as depression, suicidal ideation and substance use correlate with lower GPAs in college students.

An article published via the Harvard School of Public Health’s website stated that the Center for Disease Control found that one-in-four individuals between 18 to 24 has considered killing themselves in the last 30 days. A little more than 70% of suicide attempts occur within an hour of deciding to attempt suicide. Having a mental health agency within the community increases the likelihood that someone can get treatment and support before they get to the point of suicide being an option. This is why K-State Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is so vitally important. The resources they give students not only help them with their mental health, but CAPS resources also save lives.

It is important to recognize that therapeutic services may occupy 30 minutes to 1.5 hours of a person’s life during the week.  Students using CAPS have many hours outside of therapy where they may experience a stressor. To manage this challenge, the CAPS staff helps students develop an action plan to aid them anytime they face a barrier to mental health. “It is true that therapy not only addresses what causes current symptoms but also teaches skills to help an individual better cope with current symptoms,” said Brent Schneider, licensed therapist with K-State CAPS. “Individuals can use these skills to recognize when symptoms might flair up again and what the individual needs to do when this happens to not get to a place where they become so symptomatic, they are unable to engage in activities that are necessary or enjoyable, such as being with friends, working or being with family.”

To learn more about K-State CAPS and the services they provide visit k-state.edu/counseling. To support CAPS, visit giving.ksufoundation.org/campaigns/17379/donations/new. When you visit the CAPS website and click on the “Counseling services staff” tab, you’ll meet LINC, therapy dog in training who has some of the best listening ears.

By James Dalton Burton

I am interested in these topics

Contact a gift officer