College Students Form Mental-Health Clubs & Study Says They Help

In today’s day and age, the importance of understanding mental health is an issue that has gradually been brought further and further to light. In particular, it has become an issue that especially impacts college students, with students even forming their own peer-run mental-health clubs and organizations when schools’ traditional resources were not found to have been enough.

Mental-health issues have impacted college students for decades

According to the American Psychological Association, mental health problems among college students have actually been increasing since the 1990’s. As mentioned, however, students have also been taking the issue of mental health into their own hands, even developing their own peer-run health clubs to help bring awareness and offer help to each other.
A new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry looked at student-run efforts at 12 California colleges to look at these programs and what benefits they have, with a particular emphasis on such a group called Active Minds, which the study described as “a student peer organization focused on increasing mental health awareness, decreasing stigma, and affecting mental health knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors.”
Using an online survey, the study asked questions about students’ familiarity with Active Minds, conducting its survey three different times during the 2016-2017 academic year; ultimately, over 1,100 students at the California colleges and universities participated.

Peer-run groups managed to even inspire students to help each other, according to the study

Researchers looked at students’ responses to the survey and placed answers within three groups: “low engagement,” “moderate engagement” or “high engagement.” When the survey started, 63% were in “low engagement,” 30% were in the “moderate engagement” and 7% were in the “high engagement” groups.
As the academic year went on, however, results for the low and moderate groups showed that association with Active Minds helped to increase knowledge of mental health issues, decrease stigma and even encourage students to help each other, especially impacting students in the “low” and “moderate” groups.
Ultimately, the study came to the following conclusion:

apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, ‘Segoe UI’, Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, ‘Helvetica Neue’, sans-serif;”>Student peer organizations’ activities can improve college student mental health attitudes and perceived knowledge and significantly increase helping behaviors. Such organizations can complement more traditional programs and play an important role in improving the campus climate with respect to mental health.”

According to The Washington Post, Bradley Stein, a senior physician policy researcher at the Rand Corp. who is also one of the paper’s lead authors, these organizations have a dual-purpose that manages to help students:

“Student-organized activities can improve college student mental-health attitudes and play an important role in improving the campus climate with respect to mental health.”




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