Pressure is getting to our Kids, and we need t do something about it, before we have another episode of blow-out, which seems to happen every two-three years on our Campuses across the USA.
Look around a waiting room at a university counseling center and you’ll see students wrestling with all sorts of issues:with all sorts of issues: The one who’s failing because of binge drinking. Another who’s struggling with a roommate conflict, or a recent break-up. Yet another who’s stressed out and suicidal.
Many centers are more swamped than ever, college therapists say, particularly at this time of year, in the frenzy of final exams and job searches. Though there’s debate about why there are more students seeking services, there is agreement on this: The increase in demand, those therapists say, has made it even more crucial to zero in on the students who are in the most distress. We used to worry about there being a stigma about coming in for counseling, Now, he says, they’re “overwhelmed” with students seeking help.
To help deal with the demand, more campus counseling centers are using computerized questionnaires, some that generate color-coded charts, to help them flag a serious problem more quickly than traditional paper-and-pencil evaluations. Though they stress that these evaluations are not a replacement for in-depth questioning or counseling, many counselors say high-tech methods like these appeal to students, who are often more comfortable communicating with smart phones, iPads and laptops. When therapists began using a computerized evaluation called the Behavioral Health Measure, or BHM. One student whose depression scores were improving but whose overall well-being scores were not. Then it was determined that, to truly get better, the student needed to deal with academic issues that had been caused by the depression.
Evaluations like these also shed light on topics that students may not verbalize in therapy, such as a lack of trust, or bonding, with their therapist. In some cases, a some students haven’t liked it when it’s suggested he should be trying antidepressants with therapy.
More importantly, therapists say these instant evaluations show them more quickly when a student is seriously considering suicide. “I can look at that on my computer before the student even walks into my office,” says one Counselor, whose new clients sit at private computer kiosks in the counseling center waiting room to take a different evaluation called the Counseling Center Assessment of Psychological Symptoms, or CCAPS..
Factors students are asked to rate in the BHM include:
_”Alcohol or drug use interfering with your performance at school or work.”
_”Thoughts of ending your life.”
_”Powerful, intense mood swings or highs and lows.”
Results from that evaluation also are divided by categories, including suicide risk, depression, anxiety and drug and alcohol abuse. Each category is color-coded – green for normal, yellow for mild distress, orange for moderate distress and red for severe distress.
One councilor recalls one student whose suicide chart was flagged with red, but who initially denied she was severely suicidal. Her scores also indicated that she was mistrustful of Hirsch and the counseling process, so he used those scores – and showed her her charts at each session – to get her to open up and deal with her suicidal thoughts. “Showing that visually can really make a difference,” he says.
After initially dropping out of school, he says the student client returned to the university and passed all her classes. She also has regularly taken her medication, something she hadn’t done before. There are other ways mental health professionals are using technology to help them evaluate clients, on and off college campuses.
“It’s very simple. But there is power in simplicity,” he says of the system, which now has about 3,000 users, from college students to older clients. Among other things, he says the system helps psychiatrists do a better job of monitoring and adjusting psychotropic medications. All of these methods are fine for those who seek help. But there’s also concern that the large majority of suicidal and depressed students still don’t seek counseling and, therefore never are evaluated.
Todays conditions are responsible for the problems that are occurring with College students. Peer pressure, is a leading factor for students failing to achieve their desired goals at University. They are pressured into being part of the Clique, going to parties, binge drinking, participating in social drugs, joining Frat houses and sororities. Beyond this are the parents, who are demanding that their kids be at the top of the class, when in reality they are just average kids, and do not have a GPA 4.0.
College Students are severely handicapped as they try to Graduate, knowing that our economy is down and just maybe there want be any jobs when they do get their Sheep-skin!
- Male therapists now an ‘endangered minority’ (seattletimes.nwsource.com)