AACC.NCHE.EDU 40 | COMMUNITY COLLEGE JOURNAL
Community colleges had been taking hard looks at their mental
health services and ramping up what they provide since long
before the shooting that killed 10 people and wounded several more
at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, last October.
But the tragedy certainly brought closer to home a potential nightmare situation that no doubt had been on two-year
colleges’ administrators’ minds with each mass shooting at a
college, university, K– 12 school, movie theater or workplace.
And the fear of a violent incident is not the only motivator
for community colleges to put mental health on the front
burner; for example, some believe that mental health issues
like anxiety and depression are probably the No. 2 reason—
behind finances—why students drop out of school.
“We are a reflection of our community,” says Joseph Bednorz, a
retired counselor and personal development teacher at Glendale
Community College in Phoenix, part of the Maricopa system,
and a member-at-large of the American College Counseling
Association (ACCA). “So whatever is going on in the community
reflects in the people we serve. Where there’s been mental health
ACCA’s fifth annual survey of personal and mental health
counseling at community colleges provides some data from 159
professionals at two-year colleges in 41 states and Puerto Rico.
Among the respondents, 82 percent said their campuses
provide mental health services and 85 percent have a threat
assessment team on campus. The top four presenting problems were depression, anxiety, stress and academic problems.
• 40 percent said clinical severity is greater than in the past,
47 percent the same.