Students Need Mental Health Services Now More Than Ever

24 Sep

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College students and youth across the country are experiencing record rates of anxiety and depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide stands as the second leading cause of death amongst young people between 10 and 24 years old. Just three years ago in 2015, the suicide rate amongst teenagers reached a 40-year high. And unfortunately, only 20 percent of children with diagnosable mental, emotional, or behavioral issues receive treatment leaving millions of teens and young adults without.

These numbers are devastating. Why are young people across the country suffering from mental illness at such alarming rates? For many school-age youth who go on to college or move to different states for school the transition can be quite difficult, sometimes it may feel unbearable.

Between the increased workload, navigating a brand-new community, possibly living on their own for the first time and trying to find your own identity as a growing young adult, students are exposed to constant pressure. This pressure can generate from peers, parents, or even themselves.

As a result of increased pressures, there is a rising amount of college students who are actively seeking treatment at counseling centers on campus. However, options for mental health treatment and therapy on many campuses are severely lacking. Approximately only 13 percent of colleges offer full-time, in-house mental health services.

The poor availability of mental health services on campus may sometimes be due to a lack of available therapists, and sometimes it’s simply not a priority for the university. This leaves students often waiting weeks just for an initial consultation with a therapist. Unfortunately for those students, depression, anxiety, and other serious mental health conditions do not wait until the next available slot for a consultation.

If we take a look at Florida, only 10 out of the 12 state schools meet the recommended one therapist per 1,000 students. Imagine one therapist tasked with supporting 1,000 students. The ratio is absurd and some would say unethical. However, Florida actually represents what is considered the norm across the country. Our students and our young people deserve better.

More and more parents and prospective college students are taking into consideration what mental health services are available before they even apply. In fact, about 28 percent of students and parents researching colleges are doing so.

However, even off campus there is a national shortage of therapists across America. It’s not only the youth who are being impacted, it’s the entire country. This is why mental health apps like LARKR provide a convenient alternative and solution.

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Unlike traditional therapy or text-based apps, LARKR uses a video-based platform that connects users to a highly vetted and licensed professional therapist in real-time. Students don’t have to wait to go back home for the holidays to see their therapist, or wait until the semester starts to go back to the therapist they connected with on campus. With mobile therapy, students can have consistent quality mental health services in their back pocket.

For anyone who is currently in college or has a child in college, you are aware that most colleges already have mobile apps so that students can check their grades, look at the cafeteria menu, get important weather alerts and many other things. Why not integrate mental health services into the app as well?

Students across the country have already begun to take the first step in actively seeking mental health treatment. Now, colleges should be actively seeking more solutions so that they can meet the growing demand for more students to have better peace of mind.

LARKR’s video-based mental therapy app is working to improve mental health care for students and the continuity of their care whether they are on campus, at Spring Break, or back home for the holidays.  Founded by husband and wife duo Shawn Kernes (former CTO of StubHub) and Christianne Kernes (licensed therapist), together they are working to transform how people across the country gain access to quality mental health care.

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