Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Resources available for students facing any mental health concerns

Mental health is both a popular talking point today and a common issue among college students that will likely not subside any time soon.

The number of college students who struggle with mental health concerns and suicidal thoughts is increasing, according to the Association for University and College Counseling Center’s 2012 survey of college counseling center directors, which reported a 70 percent increase in mental health problems on their campus during the previous year. 

University of Memphis President M. David Rudd, former president of the American Association of Suicidology, said talking about mental health concerns and seeking professional assistance helps. He said there are many myths about suicide.

“One is that talking about suicide increased the risk of something bad happening,” Rudd said. “That’s simply untrue.”

Students listed general anxiety as their primary mental health concern, followed by depression, relationship problems, suicide ideation, alcohol abuse, sexual assault and self-harm, according to the 2012 AUCCC survey.

Rudd said everyone has periods where they may get down or feel anxious, and reaching out can make a difference.

“It’s important for students to understand that struggles in college are not unusual,” Rudd said. “There’s always hope. Treatment is effective.”

The U of M has many mental health resources and suicide prevention initiatives available to students, such as the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT), which addresses students’ behavioral and/or mental health concerns. All BIT team members have completed nationally recognized training from the National Association of Behavioral Intervention Teams. 

BIT serves as a clearinghouse for student concerns,” Darren Wibberding, U of M associate dean of students, said.

Wibberding said there are many strategies on campus that relate to suicide prevention, although the words may not be directly stated. 

“Generally the idea is to reduce risk factors for suicidal thoughts and behaviors and increase protective factors,” Wibberding said. “Things like getting involved on campus, joining a club, connecting with other students and faculty and going to the recreation center are all examples of activities that increase protective factors.”

Wibberding said the BIT helps faculty, staff and students identify the warning signs of distressed students through training and outreach.It also explores crisis-specific intervention strategies with each student. 

“We work with the students and institution to reduce the risk of negative behaviors,” Wibberding said.

The BIT can connect students to resources both on and off campus, and can facilitate the adjustment of going back to school for students who have taken a leave of absence due to a mental or medical health concern. All information discussed with and within the BIT is protected by the Federal Privacy Law and is confidential.

Wibberding said he created a website,, from which anyone can report concerns to the university. The website includes a form specifically for reporting concerns about students and links to a crisis resources information page. 

“One of the most important things we can do is talk about mental health and reduce stigma,” Wibberding said.

Another mental health resource available on campus is the Counseling Center, located at 214 Wilder Tower. The center offers a variety of free mental health and wellness services to students. 

Robert Maichrowicz, Associate Director of Student Health and Counseling Services, said the center focuses on both treatment and prevention and provides 24-hour crisis coverage to the U of M community everyday. The center offers individual counseling, couples counseling and group counseling, as well as career counseling and crisis services.

“There is always one of us on call, and we at times come out to campus in the middle of the night (or) early morning hours if a student is … having suicidal thoughts,” Maichrowicz said. “We also encounter students with suicidal thoughts during our regular counseling sessions. Students who are having serious depression and/or frequent thoughts of suicide often need to be on medication, along with counseling, until their condition improves.”

A psychiatric service provider is available at the center for medications related to mental health issues. 

“Students are dealing with a lot of issues during the course of their college career, which makes it important to be mindful of mental health,” Maichrowicz said.

A relaxation zone is set up in 302 Brister Hall, where students can relax in massage chairs and engage in other activities related to wellness and relaxation.

The Counseling Center at the U of M can be reached at 901-678-2068. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available for calls 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

Similar Posts