University System of Georgia is taking seriously the mental health problems faced by its students on campuses. On Wednesday, the system announced the launch of the Mental Health Task Force.
The task force comprising of members from the university system, state agencies, mental health organizations and the medical field will look at the issues, review its programs, policies and best practices to address the growing concern of mental health challenges on campuses.
Studies have shown an overall increase in mental health problems experienced by students across the campuses. Anxiety and depression are the top two mental health concerns across all sectors with presidents at private nonprofit four-year institutions most likely to hear about students facing both the mental health issues.
The task force to be co-chaired by Albany State University President Marion Fedrick and Valdosta State University President Richard Carvajal will make recommendations to the Board of Regents at the end of the review.
“The stigma and misunderstanding around mental health have substantially impacted college campuses across the nation affecting student success and faculty and staff productivity,” Fedrick said.
“I applaud the University System of Georgia for advancing a proactive approach in addressing the issues, both known and unknown,” he added.
According to a recent study, parents are also concerned about the mental health issues on campuses. 77 percent of the parents in the Marie Christie Foundation survey said that mental health issues are “very” or “somewhat” serious on campuses, while 53 percent called it serious on their own student’s campus.
While another study found that students who take part in fun, peer-directed activities that openly and honestly address mental illnesses are most likely to reduce the stigma attached to these conditions.