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NPR recently did a segment about mental health services in college and reported an increase in the demand of treatment, with many institutions hiring more mental health professionals than ever before.

“Researchers say it’s doubtful that today’s teens are sicker than past generations. Instead, they suspect what we are seeing is partly the unintended consequence of a good thing. Twenty years ago, many high school kids with an illness as difficult as bipolar disorder or major depression might not have gotten treatment or even made it to college.”

If you’re an incoming college freshman who struggles or has struggled with mental health issues in high school such as an eating disorder, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, self-injury or were hospitalized, treatment in college should be highly considered.

Actually, significant change like moving away, the expectations of a college course load and the task of making new friends can sometimes trigger an onset of another mental health related episode.

Up until now, chances are that you have been living with your parents who have kept on you about getting to appointments and taking your medication. That is all going to change. It is now up to you to take care of your mental health, which can include picking up your medication at the pharmacy, taking yourself to appointments, and practicing good self-care such as eating well, exercising and sleeping right.

If you know you will be seeking treatment in college, it is important to look at your options. For example, some institutions offer a crisis hotline, therapy for individuals and groups, are American Medical Association accredited, have outreach programs, and provide medication monitoring.

It is also necessary to take into account the limits that may be placed on services provided to students. Many schools provide student insurance but may not cover mental health services. In addition, some health insurances may include mental health services, but may limit the number of sessions.

Right now, it’s important to prioritize your mental health. A little investigation now may prevent a crisis later. To look at a more extensive list of mental health suggestions for going away to college, go to the Erika’s Lighthouse website.

Best of luck on your new journey!

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