Cal State mental health services need improvement

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A new study by the California State University system indicates higher-than-average incidences of depression and anxiety among Cal State students who seek mental health services.

Half the students who request mental health treatment at Cal State’s 23 campuses reported symptoms of anxiety. Two in five who sought services reported symptoms of depression. The study also found that, compared to college students seeking help nationwide, Cal State students reported more suicide attempts and sexual assaults.

Help does not come quickly for Cal State students. The study found that wait times between identifying the problem and starting treatment average a week and a half – double that at semester’s end.

Staffing at Cal State mental health centers is 15 percent lower than the national average for public universities. The study recommends various reviews, including a study of funding and staffing, and action by Cal State’s top administrators.

The system’s chancellor, Charles Reed, vowed to improve services. The committee responsible for the study plans to submit more detailed recommendations at July’s Cal State trustees meeting.