Universities Training RAs In 'Mental Health First Aid' To Spot Depression, Anxiety

Ann McClure's picture

As a growing number of college students suffer from anxiety and depression, universities increasingly are training resident advisers in "mental health first aid."

At the University of Colorado, 12.8 percent of students surveyed in 2011 said they had been diagnosed or treated for anxiety and 11.1 percent answered the same way for the depression category, said Robin Kolble, of CU's Community Health, a program of Wardenburg Health Center.

In the past, the survey only queried about depression, and in 2007, 17.6 percent of CU students surveyed reported they had diagnoses of depression.

The university was among about three dozen nationally that participated in a study showing the effects of mental health training among RAs, who can be first responders in student crises. But CU was a "control group," and professionals in residence life are still exploring whether they'll adopt the training program.

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