Solutions for Higher Education engages in deeper reflection of critical issues in the world of colleges and universities.
In Episode 34, President Scott L Wyatt and Professor Steve Meredith are joined by Dr. Michelle Vo to discuss mental health on campus. Dr. Vo is the director of the Student Wellness Program at the University of Utah medical school and is board certified in the specialties of general pediatrics, general psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry.
“We work in higher education and all of us work with students who are suffering from anxiety or depression, and we worry about suicides and the wellness of our students,” said Wyatt. “It feels like this is becoming a bigger problem than it used to be. We keep adding additional mental health professionals and the lines don't seem to be getting shorter.”
The need for mental health services is growing as rates of depression and anxiety continue to increase, but it is difficult to pin down what the root causes might be.
“I think the causes have been complicated and multifactorial,” said Vo. “There are probably influences at the micro level, such as the family and how the family interacts, but on the macro level, as medical and mental health professionals we have also gotten better at identifying depression and anxiety in young people. There is also a decrease in stigma of seeking help.”
One growing cause for anxiety and depression that Vo and Wyatt point out is the many ways people are isolated from each other. Technology increasingly isolates people by changing their day-to-day interactions. Social media, even though it connects people in many ways, has made human interaction less personal and can have a negative impact on people’s mental health.
“I often recommend that students turn off social media when they are suffering,” said Vo. “Social media can become another stressor, and when social media is a stressor it's probably time to delete that app, temporarily at least, from your phone. I often will do that in a prescriptive type way and I rarely hear that it was a detrimental thing.”
Listen to Episode 34 here.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, there are places right here in Cedar City that you can call to get help.
SUU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) (435) 865-8621
Southwest Behavioral Health - emergency number (435) 634-5600
Southwest Behavioral Health - non-emergency number (435) 867-7654
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-8255
SafeUT app - an app that allows people to report not only if someone is in a crisis, but bullying, and violence to get the help they need.
Cedar City Dispatch ask for the Crisis Intervention Team (435) 586- 2956
Campus Police (435) 586-1911 (They are also trained in Crisis Intervention)