Many people who are considering college look at a potential school’s academic offerings, sports programs and social opportunities. An important and often overlooked factor, are mental health programs offered by each potential college. 

College can be a stressful time for anyone, even those who have never had a mental health problem before. Mental health issues at colleges are also on the rise, with 35% of all college students reporting a mental health disorder, especially anxiety and depression. 

Many colleges are starting to recognize the increased demands that are placed on their students. In turn, these schools have started to provide resources to students who are struggling to cope with the difficulties of academic life and provide help with the new stresses that college creates. 

Here are some of the best colleges for mental health support, based on availability of mental health resources and school policies that focus on good mental health. 

1. University of Pittsburg

The University of Pittsburg offers multiple departments that provide a myriad of comprehensive wellness services. These resources include:

  • Individual and group therapies
  • Sexual assault programs
  • Psychological resources
  • Alcohol and drug dependency programs
  • Peer educators and counselors
  • A dedicated stress-free zone to reduce physical and emotional stress
  • Mindfulness meditation

2. The Ohio State University

Ohio State University offers a holistic wellness program that focuses on “Nine Dimensions of Wellness.” The wellness program at The Ohio State University includes:

  • Meetings for those recovering from addiction
  • Wellness-coaching sessions for those with stress, academic anxiety and relationship concerns
  • Sexual violence awareness and prevention
  • Nutrition coaching
  • Financial well-being coaching

3. The University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley offers dedicated women’s and LGBT services along with additional mental health services including:

  • A dedicated social services division
  • Student assistance for coping with mental and physical illness
  • Eating disorder assistance
  • Alcohol and drug dependency program
  • Domestic violence assistance
  • Career path counseling

4. North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University provides a comprehensive selection of mental wellness programs. These include:

  • General mental health wellness counseling
  • Specific interventions for students who are significantly older or younger than traditional students
  • Stress management workshops
  • Meditation workshops
  • Participation in the Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) program for suicide prevention

5. University of Florida

The University of Florida provides both traditional counseling sessions and counseling that can be delivered via video conferencing. This provides mobile mental health resources that can be accessed by online students as well. Other mental health resources provided by the University of Florida include:

  • Mobile mental health counseling
  • Therapy groups
  • Focus on assisting students with stress, depression or bereavement
  • A strong follow-up mental health system

6. University of Maine

The University of Maine offers several types of mental wellness resources. These include:

  • A Good Samaritan program that encourages students to report alcohol and drug-based emergencies
  • A coalition on alcohol, drug and tobacco use
  • Classroom instruction on substance misuse
  • Hazing prevention education and training

7. University of California, Davis

The University of California, Davis provides mental wellness and stress relief services through its 75,000 square foot, LEED-certified Student Health and Wellness Center. Complete with a “Mind Spa” designed to relieve the stress of exams and deadlines, it offers services like:

  • Massaging recliners
  • Guided meditation audio programs
  • General psychiatric services

8. Colby College

Colby College in Waterville, Maine is a relatively small college but has a state-of-the-art mental wellness program. This program includes:

  • Alcohol and substance abuse experts
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Psychiatric assessment services
  • General medical and women’s health services

9. Drexel University

Drexel University provides students with a recreational center that offers multiple ways to relieve stress and promote excellent mental health. Mental health resources at Drexel University include:

  • Mental health kiosks where students can receive a private mental health screening
  • Nutritional wellness counseling
  • Mental health counseling
  • 18,000 square feet of exercise space with top-quality equipment, a six-lane pool and professional standard squash courts

10. University of Miami

The University of Miami has a large wellness center that offers services including:

  • Mental health counseling
  • Computer-driven diet analysis
  • A comprehensive smoking cessation program
  • An innovative scheme called the Canes4Play program, which improves mental health through play

If you’re evaluating colleges or helping a loved one to plan for college, here are some additional statistics and college resources to keep in mind about college drug and alcohol use and mental health. Understanding the risks and most likely challenges can help you create a plan to set you up for success.

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