Increasing enrollment rates strain university mental health systems

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As enrollment rates increase at universities across the country, counselors say they face more difficulties handling student mental health concerns. And as KBIA’s Scott Kanowsky reports, the University of Missouri system is feeling the strain as well.

Dr. David Wallace is standing in front of a class of college students, a PowerPoint projection lit behind him. It is Suicide Prevention Week at MU, so Wallace is giving tips on coping with severe mental health problems.

Wallace is the head of the counseling center at the MU campus, where enrollment grew more than 4 percent from 2010. A licensed psychologist, Wallace says he and his staff treat more students each year.

“We were seeing this, maybe not in the 1980’s, but starting in the 1990s definitely.”

Statistics from the MU Counseling Center show a 35 percent increase in the number of students seeking counseling and psychotherapy treatment in the past five years, including a nearly 280 percent spike in “crisis appointments”.

Hear the radio story and read more on KBIA-Mid-Missouri Public Radio

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