BU Today

Health & Wellness

Mental Health has become a critical issue on college campuses. Here at BU, Behavioral Medicine clinicians report that the number of students in crisis coming in for help has increased sharply—from 647 in the 2014–2015 academic year to 906 last year. And the number of students needing medical transports for psychiatric evaluation has also risen, from 120 in the 2014–2015 academic year to 134 last year.

In light of this alarming trend, this week BU Today is publishing a special four-part series, “Mental Health Matters.”

With anxiety now the number one mental health issue among college students, followed by depression, we begin our series with a “YouSpeak,” where students talk candidly about what stresses them out and how they cope with the stressors in their lives.

Those seeking free, confidential mental health counseling can contact Student Health Services Behavioral Medicine (617-353-3569) (available 24 hours for psychiatric emergencies), the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation (617-353-3549), the Danielsen Institute (617-353-3047), and the Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders (617-353-9610). Faculty and staff with mental health issues can contact BU’s Faculty & Staff Assistance office (617-353-5381). The Samaritans of Boston suicide prevention hotline is 877-870-4673. The Active Minds student support group is best reached through its Facebook page. For crises related to crime and interpersonal or sexual violence, BU’s Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Center crisis counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (617-353-SARP) (7277). If you, or someone you know, have questions about their drug or alcohol use, Wellness & Prevention Services can help (617-358-0485). Students who require academic or other accommodations for a psychological disability can also consult BU’s Disability Services (617-353-3658). Accommodations and services could include testing modifications, reduced course load, developing skills in self-advocating with faculty, executive functioning coaching, and more. Services are free and confidential.

Next, in part two of our series “Mental Health Matters,” we look at the factors behind the growing number of students with mental health issues.

Jason Kimball can be reached at jk16@bu.edu.


12 Comments on YouSpeak: Mental Health Matters

  • Claribel Santiago on 10.05.2015 at 10:28 am

    Thank you for reporting and posting the directory on where students can seek help and the importance de-stigmatizing mental health issues. If you are of the living human species we are all in need of mental health or maintanence of good mental health one way or another.
    Best of health,
    Claribel Santiago.

  • Belle on 10.05.2015 at 1:33 pm

    It’s also a known fact that much of the mental illness epidemic is in America. This is a direct result of people being over-worked, in addition to trash media programming (brainwashing people with media) and the American Poison diet. Garbage foods that ought to be illegal are being served as normal food in stores. Produce is sprayed with chemicals, food is being genetically altered, processed foods and fast-food chains are poisoning the body and the mind. People are also being poisoned with rubbish through media. It no surprise that people are stressed, depressed, and full of anger. Look at what they are being bombarded with. When you eat organic, home-cooked meals, practice yoga or martial arts, meditate, turn off the TV, turn off the computer, and pickup a book of quality (classics, spiritual, self-help), life finds its calm and tranquility again. Wake up people. wake up and find your peace, or stay asleep, eat rubbish, watch rubbish, and take your pain pills. See where that gets you.

  • Liz on 10.05.2015 at 5:06 pm

    So does BU only care about undergrads in these instances? Because my experience as a grad student was pretty terrible.

    • Sarah on 10.06.2015 at 9:31 am

      Agreed. BU has 3 doctoral psychology programs and about 6 masters psychology programs, yet behavioral health is understaffed and has a culture of referrals. For a university of this caliber, the behavioral health resources are severely lacking.

    • Jose Artigas on 10.06.2015 at 4:56 pm

      Good point, Liz. I think BU focuses more on undergraduates because of colleges’ traditional In Loco Parentis responsibilities. However, these have declined in recent years as individual autonomy is increasingly recognized in legal terms.

      On a less admirable note, BU may be more responsive to undergrads’ challenges b/c their parents pay the bills more often. Sadly, there is reason to believe that the BU admin cares little for those in their charge. Cf. Sarah’s comment below.

  • David Bergeron-Keefe, BU Today on 10.06.2015 at 9:56 am

    John Oliver on the inadequate US mental health system:

  • christopher robinson on 10.06.2015 at 11:36 am

    Students who require academic or other accommodations for a psychological disability are also welcome to consult with Disability Services at Boston University. Potential accommodations and services could include (but are not limited to) testing modifications, reduced course load, developing skills in self advocating with faculty, and/or executive functioning coaching. Services are free and confidential. http://www.bu.edu/disability

  • Anonymous BU Student on 10.07.2015 at 5:37 pm

    This is very upsetting to watch. As someone who struggles so hard with the mental illness of anxiety, this video makes me angry. The mental illness of anxiety is NOT your everyday stressors that everyone deals with. Anxiety is a feeling that you do not have control over without professional help. Mental illness is absolutely NOT just feeling nervous before a test. EVERYONE gets nervous before a test. I am extremely disappointed in BU’s Behavioral Medicine department for allowing false information about mental illness to be advertised.

    • Anoymous on 10.09.2015 at 1:22 pm

      I strongly agree with this. This video, in isolation, has some thoughtful reflections on the stressors of college life, and I am thankful to students for sharing their opinions. But to link it with a feature on anxiety as a mental health issue is irresponsible. The word anxiety is being thrown around casually and used as a synonym for stress. Anxiety is not feeling nervous before a test. Anxiety is having a debilitating panic attack during a test, at home alone while studying for a test, or merely when walking down the street while you assume your mind is occupied by something other than stress. Anxiety takes hold and forces potentially irrational decisions, obsessive thinking, and withdrawal from social situations. Putting yourself out there and joining a club is not an option. With all due respect, if you feel like most of these students in the video, you probably don’t have an anxiety disorder.

      • Anoymous on 10.09.2015 at 1:33 pm

        I need to rephrase the last statement: If you feel like the self-care suggestions provided by the students in the video are possible for you to undertake independently to address your stress, then you probably don’t have an anxiety disorder. People with anxiety disorders have trouble taking initiative to do the very things that will help them. I didn’t mean to suggest the students here aren’t dealing with stress or even anxiety disorders themselves. It’s the tone of the video that is frustrating.

    • Max Rodriguez on 10.19.2015 at 10:16 am


      I am a journalism student at BU and I am working on a multimedia project where I want to shed some light on stories of the under-represented and mis-represented. I am hoping to find someone who has a mental illness and talk about their experiences. I hope you can reach out to me so I can further explain my purpose. Thank you.

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