College is an exciting period of time which brings both opportunities and challenges. Students are responsible for themselves in new ways, often living apart from parents and balancing school and extracurriculars. The stressors of college – academic demands, social pressures, preparation for life post-graduation – can exacerbate underlying behavioral health problems. Alcohol and substances can become an easy way to escape daily stress and lead to a pattern of self-medication and risky behavior.
Universities can lead the way in helping students access reliable behavioral health information by providing online mental health screenings. It is critical that colleges and universities promote behavioral health awareness and decrease the stigma around getting help. Colleges must address student mental health and substance use needs before they become a crisis.