Variations in Student Mental Health and Treatment Utilization Across US Colleges and Universities.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE On US college campuses, mental health problems are highly prevalent, appear to be increasing, and are often untreated. Concerns about student mental health are well documented, but little is known about potential variations across the diversity of institutions of higher education. PARTICIPANTS Participants were 43,210 undergraduates at 72 campuses that participated in the Healthy Minds Study from 2007 to 2013. METHODS Multivariable logistic regressions focus on associations between institutional characteristics and student mental health and treatment utilization. RESULTS The following institutional characteristics are associated with worse mental health: doctoral-granting, public, large enrollment, nonresidential, less competitive, and lower graduation rates. Among students with apparent mental health problems, treatment utilization is higher at doctorate-granting institutions, baccalaureate colleges, institutions with small enrollments, and schools with strong residential systems. CONCLUSIONS Although high rates of mental health problems and low treatment utilization are major concerns at all types of institutions of higher education, substantial variation occurs across campuses.

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