U of M expands mental health services to meet demand

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Students seeking counseling and other mental health treatment won’t have to wait, thanks to a boost in services and care options at the Twin Cities campus.

Minnesota Daily reports this makes it the first semester at Boynton Health Service without a mental health waiting list.

That's because of almost $290,000 in newly allocated funds the clinic used to add counseling staff and space. Boynton also added a new mental health clinic location in St. Paul.

Mental health services director Dr. Steve Hermann says eliminating delays for treatment will make a tremendous difference for students in need.

“We certainly know that without the expansion of the last year and a half, we would be running extremely long waits in therapy this year,” Hermann says.

Requests for mental health appointments have increased by 21 percent from last September to March of this school year.

A recent U of M survey identified mental health as the number one public health issue on campus. More than a third of students report being diagnosed with at least one mental health condition.

The situation at the U echoes the national picture.

According to a 2011 survey:

– 30 percent of students reported they “felt so depressed it was difficult to function” at least once in the last twelve months

– more than 6 percent reported they “seriously considered suicide” one or more times during the past year

– students also ranked depression as one of the top ten impediments to academic performance

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