Mental Health Care Access in Schools and Universities: A Closer Inquiry

The subject of mental health care among college students has been brought to our awareness more times these days than it ever was years before, and with good reason.

Suicide

In 2013, a 16 year-old Behavioral Science freshman, Kristel Tejada from UP Manila successfully completed suicide via ingestion of silver cleaner following the rejection of her application to delay tuition payment, which brought about hopelessness and extinguished an otherwise productive life. Her otherwise promising future, and capacity for grit was extinguished due to her perception of the hopelessness of her situation.

Although the above example was more of an economic problem, however, it should not minimize the fact that in schools everywhere, university students also have other devastating personal struggles which lead of depression and anxiety (among others) and have severely compromised daily living and functioning. This has gotten to the point to warrant attention from their friends, faculty and the media.

Statistics in the Philippines (Redaniel, et al, 2005) show that the incidence of suicide in males increased from 0.23 to 3.59 per 100,000 between 1984 and 2005. Similarly, rates rose from 0.12 to 1.09 per 100,000 in females. Amongst females, suicide rates were highest in 15-24 year olds, whilst in males rates were similar in all age groups throughout the study period.

A call for help

I was able to see firsthand, how two heads of schools have asked for help from the mental health sector and, correspondingly, the Philippine Psychiatric Association, on how to partner in order to get the mental health and psychosocial needs of the students addressed. This attention to the need to address these most often pervasive, but very prevalent issues regarding the mental health of these young adults is just what is needed.

The recent times have shown us that the young people of today face a much heavier burden coming from all sides…personal, family, societal and political shifts,  economics, even the strain of urban living itself. Some, have the ready support of available family and friends on call, others, have online support groups.  Other individuals are not so lucky, and that they fall through the cracks because they have no means, and can be afraid to seek help due to reasons of stigma.

Tonight’s tweet chat is an introduction into this topic of mental health care services access and delivery in schools and universities. This is geared towards how we may pool our resources and experiences of seeking and receiving mental health care in the schools and universities, so we can further address this problem by coming up with recommendations and discuss instituting more permanent health policies.

Tonight’s learning and exchange will be facilitated by the following guide questions:

T1 What are your experiences (or others you may know of) of seeking for and getting mental health care in our schools and universities?

T2 What do you think are factors that hinder individuals from seeking and maintaining mental health care from their schools and universities?

T3 What recommendations (methods or models) would you like to make to improve mental health care services access and delivery in schools and universities?