Back to therapy & school: 5 articles for providers

Nearly 20 million Americans are starting or heading back to school during these coming weeks. In this post we highlight several articles we’ve found helpful for when your students come back to therapy this fall!

Gender Minority Students

The team at the Healthy Minds Network have shared much needed research and insights on the mental health needs of our Gender Minority (GM) youth. In the largest study of its kind, the HMN researchers found that gender non-conforming and transgender students are 4x more likely to experience mental health issues compared to their peers. Their work continues to highlight the pressing need to support GM students through increased programming and policy.  Read the full text of the paper here, and for a summary check out Inside Higher Ed’s article. For more articles on minority mental health check out our blog post.

Challenging Mental Health Stigma

As we return to campus or work, many may be wondering what we can do to reduce the mental health stigma on our campuses or community? This is an excellent article written by Dr. Todd Essig, a Psychologist and Psychoanalyst in New York. He discusses how the biases, stereotypes and prejudices of mental illness has created a faulty ‘them vs. us’ mentality. Instead, we all struggle and ‘they is us’. He explains how this distancing only further perpetuates the pervasive stigma in our country. He offers three actionable recommendations for us all, whether as student, provider, or university counseling center, on how to fight mental health stigma.

MIT: A Mental Health Care Model?

This article written by a Cornell University College of Engineering student, makes a case for mental health care reform on Cornell’s campus and looks to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Student Support Services as a possible model. She describes how MIT demonstrates to their students how to prioritize mental health care across campus by creating a culture where students are freely granted extensions on exams, homework assignments, and extended leaves as needed. The MIT system is reportedly based on a system of trust that allows students to prioritize their physical and mental health over their academics so they can feel empowered to be in control of their own well-being. It may be worth other schools considering models similar to MIT…

Preparing Students to Go to School

Psychology professor and parent describes in this piece how many universities are beginning to offer special well-being programs to first year students in preparation of their time in college. These courses are geared towards teaching students how to deal with emotional demands of their newly developing academic and social lives. The author argues that teaching the importance of self-care, as well as ways to practice it, is essential for college kids especially given that most mental health issues are established by the age of 24. Check out our blog post here to read more about how parents can support their children’s mental health during college. For students who would like to work on self-care with the support of a therapist who specializes in college mental health, they can head back to therapy by searching here!

Back to Therapy vs. Peer Support

Professor of Psychology at Rockhurst University, Dr. Risa Stein, makes a compelling case for how the majority of students often do not feel comfortable sharing their emotional concerns with a therapist or other authority figure. Instead, she argues that students are increasingly reliant on their peers for validation, empathy, and other forms of emotional support. She advocates a peer-oriented social movement to help empower students to bolster their mental health. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this idea, please leave comments below!

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