Finding Emotional Support in Troubling Times



Even before the pandemic, the subject of mental health among college students was gaining traction as a mounting issue. As far back as 2013, the American Psychological Association reported that 95% of surveyed college counseling center directors expressed a growing concern with the number of students with significant psychological problems. In that survey, it was revealed that 41.6% of students were experiencing anxiety and 36.4% reported depression1

In a year marred by a global pandemic, campus shutdowns and feelings of isolation, a new survey conducted by The Jed Foundation in October 2020 found that 63% of students find their emotional health is worse than it was before the pandemic. Indeed, 82% now report anxiety and 63% report depression. Sixty-two percent are having trouble concentrating and 60% experience difficulty coping with stress in healthy ways2. One in five college students report having suicidal thoughts.

The question is not if college students are feeling the burden of expectation (academic or otherwise), isolation or workload, but what to do about it. It seems everyone knows that support is the answer, but where can students in Michigan go, what can they and the people in their lives do, to help improve it?  

The generic answer on many online resources recommend speaking with a mental health professional. Unfortunately, a generic answer for a widespread issue does not produce local results. According to Open Counseling, Michigan ranks 15 in the country for access to mental health care, but the top concern among those interested in help is doubt surrounding affordability, which often undermines follow through. Therefore, even though the state’s ranking is so high, 56% of people experiencing some sort of mental health issue will still forego care altogether3.

What many don’t know is that public crisis services are open to anyone in the state of Michigan experiencing a mental health crisis or emergency, despite having a mental health history or lack of insurance. What is more, a comprehensive list of affordable or free options available in Michigan, by region, can be found here for you or someone you may know having a hard time this year. Don’t let cost or stigma be an issue. Understand that most people are experiencing some form of anxiety, depression or other mental health concern and that accessible resources are out there, and for far less than the price of a backpack.

As MICPA Student Members find themselves facing unprecedented challenges this year, we encourage them to turn to their peers, instructors, families or one of the many resources available in their local communities for support, including the connections they’ve made within this organization. Get involved, be a part of the conversation and, most importantly, be kind to yourself and each other. 

  1. “College Students’ Mental Health is a Growing Concern, Survey Finds.” American Psychological Association. June 2013. Accessed on 16 Dec. 2020.
  2. “Survey of College Student Mental Health in 2020.” The Jed Foundation. 22 Oct. 2020. Accessed on 16 Dec. 2020
  3. “Michigan Mental Health Services Guide.” Open Counseling. Accessed on 16 Dec. 2020

Source: MICPA

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