Concerns about mental health on campus have grown and gained attention in recent years. Research and reports have shown an increasing demand for supports and services on campus, but many colleges and universities cannot keep up with the needs of their students. For students, this can mean not knowing how to get help, asking for help and getting long wait times, or not getting the needed support to navigate higher education and their personal wellbeing.
While awareness campaigns are an important part of the solution, we must move away from traditional thinking to find new ways to fill gaps in services on campus to support students looking for help. It's time to focus on creative student-led solutions and advocacy.
With an understanding of the power of peer support and community, MHA's CMHIC is dedicated to highlighting innovation on-campus that utilizes new approaches to resources and supports available to students.
The members are elected every year to have monthly meetings to discuss major challenges and solutions, share their knowledge and experience with MHA's broader network, and develop an annual report highlighting trends and guides to their programs and work.
The 2018-2019 CMHIC Report
Student voices are needed now more than ever to develop innovative solutions that create healthier, more inclusive college campuses. MHA’s Collegiate Mental Health Innovation (CMHIC) is dedicated to highlighting and expanding the student-led resources filling gaps in traditional supports and services on campuses across the US. This year’s report, Making Space for Mental Health on Campus, continues MHA’s emphasis on the voices of lived experience as being essential leaders in addressing the issues that impact them.
The needs and stakes are high for campus mental health. It is time for all of us to listen to the people who are most familiar with the issues—the students themselves.
Major Highlights of the 2019 Report:
- Expanding campus-based mental health resources should not rely on students finding traditional resources and services. With the leadership of students, mental health information and resources need to be tailored to and embedded in different communities on campus to best meet their needs.
- Students continue to demand and create formal peer support programs, even with pushback from universities.
- To make support accessible, resources need to be available 24/7 in-person, via phone, and across campus, including in living spaces.
- Disability cultural centers create spaces where students with disabilities can connect with one another and celebrate disability culture and identity, as opposed to emphasizing disability as an impairment.
Check out the 2017-2018 CMHIC Report, Beyond Awareness: Student-led Innovation in Campus Mental Health. The report focuses on the power of student leadership in disability supports, peer support, and technology in campus mental health and includes summaries and guides of each member's programs for expansion to additional campuses.