The Joint Standing Committee on Education heard a presentation on mental health of students in higher education institutions. Students are disconnected and struggling. This is an issue across the nation, not just in West Virginia. Counselling Centers are seeing more and more students each year. Difficulties started long before pandemic. Many of the students received counselors in elementary or high school. They’ve been on medication before. More and more students are self-harming and attempting suicide Students are less resiliency and have less coping skills. WVU’s counselors see bout 500 counselling sessions in a week.
A survey of counselors at higher education institutes in WV found students need better access to psychiatric services, mental health services, long care therapy, more frequent appointments, more peer mentoring/wellness coaching and after-hours services. Staffing needs more counselors, more funding to recruited and keep counselors, and prevention opportunities.
Psychiatric care needs to start at a younger age. National data shows there’s been an increase in high school students who have feelings of hopelessness and sadness. They are beginning to have thoughts of self-harm and suicide at young ages.