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Dealing with Depression at Campus Clinic

A recent Canada-US study published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry shows that one in four college students who visit campus health clinics show signs of depression according to the National Post .The study highlights findings based on surveys filled out by 1,622 students who had recently made appointments at their schools’ health clinics. The study’s findings are being echoed at campus health clinics across the country, including Creighton’s Center for Health and Counseling.

According to Senior Director of Counseling Services, Michael Kelley, PhD., Creighton’s counseling center has seen about a 5-8 percent increase in demand for counseling services every year since 2000, but over the past two years the need to services has grown to a 25 percent increase.

“The general theme within the community of directors of counseling centers are all reporting that students are coming with more serious symptoms,” Kelley said. “I think the tasks of growing up are more demanding now than they were 20 years ago. Young people have a lot of expectation laid on them—maybe more than there used to be.”

In order to properly handle this increase, the staff members at the Center continuously try to find ways to reach out to students. One way the Center does this is through a program called the Interactive Screening Program (ISP), which works to identify students who might be depressed.

“It’s a way to reach out to students randomly through a stress test,” Kelley said. Of the 200 or 300 that go out at a given time, we get about 20 or 30 responses and they usually tend to be very distressed. We then have an anonymous conversation online and try to encourage them to come in.”

Along with implementing ISP, the Center continuously focuses on hiring staff members with the best expertise to serve students. Generally, schools should aim to have about one staff member per 1000 students, and Creighton exceeds that.

Kelley said he thinks Creighton’s Center for Health and Counseling is more than prepared to deal with the number of students who come in. “I think we’re pretty well-equipped,” he said, “I look at us in comparison to other schools and I think we would come out on the high side when it comes to the quality and richness of resources,” he added.

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