Nearly half of all college students face these challenges

Stefanie Botelho's picture
Wednesday, July 2, 2014

There are two overlooked national health issues that are affecting college campuses across the country, and they are contributing to the leading causes of death for college students in the US. Yet not enough people are talking about it: mental health issues and substance abuse and misuse among college students and young adults.

These are serious preventable problems affecting many young adults across the U.S.:

Almost 1 in 4 of the nation’s college students meets the medical criteria for substance abuse.

Mental health and substance abuse issues affect every single college campus.

According to the 2013 American College Health Association–National College Health Assessment, more than half of college students have experienced "overwhelming anxiety"; about 32 percent of these students reported feeling "so depressed that it was difficult to function" at some point in the past year.

The Campus Program is designed to help colleges and universities promote emotional wellbeing and improve mental health programming, reduce substance abuse, and prevent suicide.

That is why we are breaking the silence. The Clinton Foundation’s Health Matters Initiative (CHMI) has teamed up with The Jed Foundation to launch The Jed and Clinton Health Matters Campus Program (The Campus Program), which helps colleges and universities create healthier and safer campus environments. The Campus Program is designed to help colleges and universities promote emotional wellbeing and improve mental health programming, reduce substance abuse, and prevent suicide. The Campus Program expands upon The Jed Foundation’s JedCampus program, a groundbreaking self-assessment and feedback program that helps colleges create more comprehensive solutions to support their students.

To participate in the Campus Program, schools take a confidential, online self-assessment about their current mental health, suicide prevention, and substance abuse programming, which is then compared to recommended practices. The Jed Foundation and CHMI then provide a confidential feedback report and on-the-ground technical assistance with practical recommendations for enhancement.

We all need to work together to support America’s 21 million college and university students.

These are serious issues that need to be addressed. We all need to work together to support America’s 21 million college and university students. By breaking the silence, we can begin a dialog to help ensure that our young adults are able to reach their full potential by improving mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention programming on campuses, and letting them know that help and support are available. We need everyone’s efforts to reverse this epidemic. Join us in breaking the silence at Facebook.com/myhealthyu and learn how schools can participate in The Campus Program at thecampusprogram.org.