Tackling the College Mental Health Crisis

Newswise – Today’s college students face a serious mental health crisis, caused in part by the pandemic. After nearly two years of distance learning, restricted gatherings and constant Covid testing, many students are anxious, socially isolated, depressed – and overwhelming campus mental health centers.

The pandemic has fueled a decade-long trend of increased rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse and serious suicidal thoughts, according to a nationwide survey of college students conducted by the Healthy Minds Network and the American College Health Association.

An expert panel of psychologists will examine what is causing this crisis, what is being done, and offer tips on how to recognize the symptoms of depression and anxiety, and how students and their families can find the support they need to build the resilience to cope to lead a mentally healthy college experience. The webinar is free and open to the public.

The moderator

  1. Dolores Cimini, PhD, Director, Center for Behavioral Health Promotion and Applied Research, University at Albany-SUNY, and Director of the nationally recognized Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program. dr Cimini has led extensive research-to-practice translation efforts at the University at Albany for the past 30 years, with over $910 million in support from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Abuse (NIDA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), the US Department of Education, the US Department of Justice and the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports. That of Dr. Cimini’s STEPS Comprehensive Alcohol Screening and Short Intervention Program has received 13 national awards for best practice and innovation in behavioral medicine. dr Cimini has co-edited two books, including a volume entitled Promoting Behavioral Health and Reduced Risk Among College Students: A Comprehensive Approach (2018) that focuses on the health and well-being of college students.

The panel

Amie Haas, PhD, dr Haas is a professor at Palo Alto University in the Department of Psychology with a specialization in college student substance abuse problems. Her research focuses on identifying high-risk drinking and drug use practices among college students and developing targeted interventions using a harm reduction model. She has worked with Santa Clara University for several years to develop new alcohol prevention and education programs and has consulted with other universities to lead on-campus prevention programs. Her work focuses on behaviors such as pregaming (ie, drinking before students consume alcohol at an event), co-occurring cannabis and alcohol use, overdose, and factors associated with alcohol-related blackout and sexual risk-taking. In her career she has received support from NIDA and the US Department of Education.

Donna Sheperis, PhD, LPC, NCC, ACS, CCMHC, Board Certified Tele-Mental Health Provider is a professor and deputy chair of the advisory department at the PAU. In addition, dr. Sheperis Director of PAU eClinic, which works with college success agencies to provide mental health support to their students. Sheperis has over 30 years of clinical psychological counseling experience. Her work focuses on elemental health, internet interventions, technology and mental health, and adult mental health. She is past President of the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling and a member of the Ethics Appeals Committee of the American Counseling Association.

Predair Robinson, PhD Director of Academic Satellites, UC Davis Student Health and Counseling Services dr Robinson is a clinical psychologist who directs the counseling and outreach services for eight academic student satellites of the UC Davis Community; these include the four deanships for veterinary medicine, medical faculty, nursing science faculty and graduate studies. In addition to program, development and human resources management, he supervises and trains advisory staff, doctoral students and postdocs and offers short-term therapy and crisis interventions for students. Before joining UC Davis, he was the interim director of the Sexual and Gender Identities Clinic (SGIC), a specialty training clinic affiliated with Palo Alto University. In this role, he clinically supervised second-year graduate students treating LGBTQ+ people in the Bay Area.

About Palo Alto University (PAU), PAU is a private, non-profit university located in the heart of Northern California’s Silicon Valley, dedicated to addressing pressing and emerging issues in the fields of psychology and counseling that meet the needs of today’s diverse society. PAU offers undergraduate and graduate programs led by faculty that make significant contributions in their fields. Online, hybrid, and brick-and-mortar program options are available. PAU was founded in 1975 as the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology and re-established as Palo Alto University in August 2009. PAU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). PAU’s doctoral programs are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and its master’s programs in counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

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