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Each year, more than 600 college students are treated at McLean Hospital. These young people come from more than 200 different colleges and universities to address a broad range of issues and psychiatric illnesses.
In order to provide more support to students like you, McLean established the College Mental Health Program (CMHP) in 2008. The vision of the CMHP is to help college students such as yourself, who have mental illness and adjustment issues, to lead more productive lives by providing the highest level of psychiatric care and by working closely with you, your family, and your institution of higher education to ensure the greatest probability of academic and personal success. As part of this effort, we formed a CMHP Student Advisory Committee, a group of student advocates who have taken part in creating this guide for you. You are not alone in your recovery process. Today, more than ever, college students are succeeding and thriving despite having to cope with mental health and adjustment issues.
If you are a student dealing with a mental health issue, you probably have a number of questions and concerns. High school students might be wondering: Am I ready to go to college, and if so, what do I need to know in order to make a healthy transition? Students in college, or on leave of absence, might be wondering: Will I ever get back to college? How can I take care of my mental health and still have the college experience I want? Finally, some students in crisis may be worried that taking time to seek treatment will seriously interfere with their academic goals.
This student guide was written with direct contributions from students, for students. In it you will find many suggestions of topics to discuss with your treatment team or mental health providers. Although high school and college students have unique needs and concerns, you are not the first to travel this road. Therefore, we have divided the guide into sections so that you can focus on what is most helpful to you at any given time. The first section, The College Transition, is your space for planning and preparing to make a healthy transition to college life. Campus Resources will walk you through the many ways to get support once you get there.
For students in crisis, or those taking time away from school, Personal Experience and Seeking Help will guide you through mapping out an effective leave of absence. Real-Life Stories depicts college students’ success in realizing their academic and mental health goals following a mental health crisis.
The final section, Hospitalization and Treatment, will answer your questions about obtaining treatment at McLean—and what happens after your treatment is finished. You’ll also find resources for students looking to maintain their long-term mental health.
The educator Leo J. Muir said, “Someone has defined genius as the intensity of purpose: the ability to do, the patience to wait…. Put these together and you have genius and you have achievement.” At McLean Hospital, we are prepared to work closely with you, your family, and your institution of higher education through your recovery process so that you can ultimately realize your genius—your potential—and continue along your path of achievement.
The rate of students reporting being newly diagnosed with depression increased from 10% in 2000 to 13% in 2015. College women were diagnosed with depression at almost twice the rate of college men.– The American College Health Association
We want to express our gratitude to former University of Michigan student and author Elizabeth Drucker, and the student organization Finding Voice. In 2005, in collaboration with the University of Michigan’s Division of Student Affairs, they created an original version of this guide for distribution to students admitted through the university’s inpatient psychiatric service.