Talking Mental Health In College- Q & A with Richard Kadison, M.D. of Harvard University

Maria Pascucci, president of Campus Calm, had the opportunity to talk with Richard Kadison, M.D., about why high schools and colleges are seeing a rise in the number of stressed-out students battling mental health problems. Kadison is the chief of the Mental Health Service at Harvard University Health Services and author of College of the Overwhelmed: The Campus Mental Health Crisis and What to Do About It. Kadison has specialized in campus mental health and student mental health treatment throughout his career.

Campus Calm: Why are college campuses seeing a rise in the number of students with mental health issues?

Kadison: There are lots of reasons we’re seeing a rise in the number of students with mental health issues. We’re seeing more students who get diagnosed with serious problems in high school and they’re functioning well enough to get to college. That’s one group. I think there is the millennial group of students with what are described as helicopter parents who hover over them, and basically make decisions for them. You know the old metaphor about teaching people to fish instead of getting them fish. I think there’s a lot of handing out of fish that goes on in high school. Kids are also being shuttled from one activity to another, kind of building their college resume and not having much down time and not really feeling passionate about things.

Campus Calm: How big of a part does the lack of sleep, eating right and exercising play in students being stressed out?

Kadison: The lack of sleep, I think, is a huge issue. College students are sleeping an average of 6 1/2 hours each night and they definitely experience symptoms of sleep deprivation, which screws up their immune systems, impairs their academic functioning and makes them more susceptible to depression and bipolar disorder.

Exercise is another huge issue. There’s good evidence for milder forms of depression, four days of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise works as well as antidepressant medication. A lot of students get busy, stop exercising and eating healthy, get more depressed, have more difficulty getting their work done, then start stressing out and have more difficulty sleeping. They get into this vicious cycle.

Campus Calm: How much of a part does perfectionism play in the lives of stressed-out students? How does Harvard’s counseling center deal with academic perfectionism amongst students?

Kadison: That’s certainly a big issue here and I would say, most elite schools. I talked to the directors of the other ivies. There are two major thrusts. I would say one is trying to create some balance in students’ lives. They need to take care of themselves. Working all the time is not the best way to live. Having conversations with them about excellence versus perfection and working hard and trying to focus. But no one test, no one course, no one situation is going to make or break your life. Lives take twists and turns that none of us expect.

Number one: you need to learn how to be resilient. Number two: learn some techniques and skills to manage stress because what you have in high school and college isn’t going to change once you get out into the real world.

Campus Calm: Whom do you see more of: overachieving guys or girls? Is it true that women seek help more than young men? Why or why not?

Kadison: In terms of more women seeking care, I think probably that’s because women are more tuned into their emotions. There’s less stigma. I don’t think the numbers are different — it’s just that men aren’t always wise enough to come in to talk to some one about it.

Campus Calm: How do you work to help students find meaningful ways to base their identities beyond grades & awards?

Kadison: That’s exactly the challenge. It’s people figuring out who they are — we all have faults, we all make mistakes and we all do things we wish we hadn’t done. The key is really to get to know yourself, figure out how to accept yourself and do the best that you can. Getting students outwardly focused, again in balance, so that they’re engaged in their community. There’s growing evidence that the more students are doing something to help their community, like working with high school kids, or volunteering somewhere, those students have much more satisfactory experiences in college than students who are completely self-focused. It’s creating an environment where that’s really encouraged and rewarded.

Campus Calm: Do you think that our current academic culture allows kids to learn how to make mistakes and fail safely?

Kadison: Well, I think part of the process is really the education of the whole community. It’s not just the students. We try to do outreach activities and provide consultations to faculty, staff and residential staff. The reality is though, if the culture in the lab is that the professor is in the lab until 3 a.m., and expects everyone else to be there until 3 a.m., that’s not a healthy message for students.

I think mental health advocacy groups are a good idea because students listen to other students more than other professional adults. Having advocacy groups so students can hear that getting depressed in college is nothing to be ashamed of and it’s very treatable if you come and talk to someone about it.

Campus Calm: Is an Ivy League education always the best way to reach success?

Kadison: I think that students can get a great education at any school. There’s students who come here to Harvard and don’t get a great education because it’s a bad fit for them. Being around other bright people who are totally focused on their academics doesn’t help them learn how to create any kind of balance in their lives. That leads to a disappointment.

Campus Calm: So many students see straight A’s and other academic achievements as stepping stones that will lead them to a good college, which will lead them to a good graduate school, then to a good job and, ultimately, a happy life. Does our society put too much emphasis on this one path to happiness and prosperity?

Kadison: As far as students seeing grades as stepping-stones, I think that’s true. There’s some reality in there and it’s also a problem. I think to some degree this is up to the college admissions folks, that leading a balanced life and being engaged in your community is just as important as being successful academically. Doing other things that you feel passionate about.

Choosing the Best Online College or University

Online College or University choices are as wide open as the day is long and you want the best that money can afford you. Online education is fast taking on its own dimension in broadening and supplementing our resumes. Getting the most education you can afford and in a time strapped lifestyle as most people are in today is challenging to say the least.

Getting an online college or university degree is just as credible as a traditional college degree but it is less expensive, more adapted to your busy life and work mix, plus you can suffer far less sideline interruptions that a land based campus would cause.

In deciding what online college or university to choose, you should consider the real interactions you expect and plan on needing before landing on your selection of education providers. Ideally, you want to find an online college or university that is geographically close to where you reside. This allows you the options of having a better opportunity to check in, meet, and have a good relationship with any professors or teachers that are associated with the online classes.

Accredited online colleges offer much the same level of education as campus classes and yet by not having all the distraction, you can better focus on studying and at the times that allow you to turn off all your other commotions.

Psychology Degrees Online is a popular field to enter and the spectrum from which this profession is leading us, you could be doing yourself as well as others a real service. Online graduate programs and online master’s degrees are other levels of education you can complete from the comforts of your own home.

While online college or university classes can be flexible, you still have some obstacles that may be somewhat different, than the campus lifestyle classes. Finding the time in your busy schedule to stay focused and regimented to do the required class time is very challenging. It is easy to do the class, but making yourself stay the course, literally is hard.

Distance education is the new community college mentality. Finding a less costly education and conveniently accessible. Many local community colleges are seeing more and more students using online college and university choices and less classroom students.

Another stigma that is easily overcome with online education is the age of the student to the rest of the class. If you are now older and want to go back to get or finish your degree, or even expand your education to a graduate or masters degree, you don’t have to concern yourself by feeling like the oldest person in the class.

The choices are many and the specializing of classes offered are detailed, but if you really want to further your education or get a specialized class on virtually any subject, online college or university studies is the way to get it.

The Importance of Campus Life For College Students

College is a time for leaving the comfort and security of home and embarking on the journey to adulthood. Many universities and colleges require a student to live on campus at least during their freshman year. This is very beneficial to students as they will learn about campus life and the many benefits that come with living on campus.

Living on campus allows one to meet and interact with a wide variety of people. People from all over the world will attend a quality college and university so you will be exposed to new cultures and learn so much from them. As well, you will make long lasting friends and have support during times when you may feel home sick. Living on campus helps ease any anxieties associated with the transition from home to college. Not only does living on campus give you easy and quick access to classes, but you will also be able to interact with people living in your dorm and take part in the social gatherings and parties.

Living on campus will give you the ability to take part in many clubs and organizations. This can include organizations that focus on education, cultural diversity, gender issues, recreational activities, spiritual activities, political clubs, sports activities, and much more. Colleges and Universities also have various extra curricular activities such as working at the college newspaper, radio station, and more. The convenience of living on campus makes it more likely that you will participate in clubs and other organizations. As well, the convenience allows you to attend other facilities such as night time labs, night time classes, the library, and the fitness centre. The fitness centre is a great way to exercise, participate in recreational sports activities, and even take a swim. Most colleges also have various college sports team that one can try out for. It is also helpful to be near the college health centre, dining halls, and student information resources.

If you are attending college on a tight budget, you will most likely want a part time job to ease your daily living expenses. Living on campus makes access to an on campus job much easier as you will be only minutes away from your job. You do not have to worry about driving to a job and days when there is bad weather. You will make that extra bit of cash while meeting and interacting new people.

Recent studies have shown that students living on campus are more likely to complete their education program. The reason for this is that students living on campus feel more connected to the college and the people. They tend to invest more time in their classroom studies as well as campus life. There may seem to be a lot of benefits to living off campus when attending college, however, if you live on campus you will be exposed to new experiences and people which will make college life more fun and rewarding. Campus life is a unique experience that one should take full advantage of before they actually get out in the work world where they will have their whole lives to be fully independent.

College Campus Pavement Maintenance Tips

Colleges and Universities all across the country experience massive increases in enrollment with every passing semester. This exponential growth, although incredible, has also led such campuses to struggle with routine structural upkeep. One of the most unintentionally neglected areas are paved surfaces. This includes parking lots, sidewalks, curbs, ADA ramps, stairs, basketball courts, tennis courts, plazas, courts, and more.

College campus pavement maintenance is important in order to keep the campus looking attractive and worth its tuition. However, the most important part of pavement maintenance for colleges is safety. Crumbling or uneven pavement can cause slip, trip, and fall accidents, while faded paint lines and symbols can cause car collisions, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian injuries. Continue reading to learn the most effective and recommended ways to maintain your student campus, responsibly and within budget.

Pedestrian Comfort and Safety

Unkempt pavement will eventually begin to show signs of deterioration and lack of performance. Crumbling stairs, uneven surfaces, and degraded curbs are all danger zones for anyone not paying close attention to where they are stepping. This can lead to dangerous walking grounds for pedestrians. Since walking is a mainstream method of transportation for students on campus, it is important to keep it pedestrian friendly. Student injuries are a liability and can cost your college a lot of money, but they can be better avoided with proper pavement maintenance.

Enhance Bike Paths

Road striping is important to college campuses since many students also like to ride their bikes, scooters, hover boards, and skateboards to class. Bike paths should be specifically designated, especially for campuses that allow cars. Furthermore, bike paths should be brightly painted and clearly marked for all to see. Not only can they reduce traffic congestion, they protect bikers and pedestrians alike.

Implement Work on School Breaks

The best time to implement routine pavement maintenance for any school is when students are out on break. This makes it logistically easier for all parties, including the paving company, the school staff, and the student population. It gives the paving company room to work, while also preventing any student interruption or accidents from taking place. As you know, some college kids get a kick out of imprinting on wet pavement. To avoid this type of campus vandalism, have all work complete when classes are not in session.

Attract New Students for Enrollment

An aesthetically pleasing parking lot gives a customer a great first impression. It says something about pride, quality, and professionalism. The same feeling applies for new students visiting the campus to tour the school. If you are touring a college, and the first thing you see is a derelict parking lot or sidewalks in a dangerous state of depletion, would you still want to apply? If your college wants to attract new students to enroll, pavement maintenance is a great service.