In a recent study, conducted by the American College Health Association (ACHA), the majority of undergraduates polled reported they felt overwhelmed and mentally exhausted. More than half of the students admitted that they harbored tormenting feelings of loneliness, sadness and anxiety. To better address these young scholars’ levels of stress, California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) has strengthened its health care maintenance by sharpening its focus on mental health issues.

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Monica Jazzabi)

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Monica Jazzabi)

“Mental health care and services are provided by the Student Health Center and its Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), in order to assist students with their mental health needs and support their personal and academic success,” said Dr. Monica Jazzabi, the center’s director and CSULA’s medical chief of staff. “The demand for student mental health services has increased, and more students are seeking these services.”

ACHA data also revealed that more than 35 percent of participating students said they were burdened by emotions of anger. One-third of them confessed they had conceded to bouts of depression so relentless, they were unable to function.

“Considering the importance of and the increased demand for mental health services, Dr. William Covino, CSULA’s president, has initiated a campaign, titled Mind Matters,” Dr. Jazzabi said. “He has also authorized the expansion of CAPS’ space and personnel to better serve the students.”

What services does CSULA provide?

“Our mental health services include support groups, in addition to individual, couples and group counseling. We also offer mental health workshops, screenings, consultation, crisis intervention and psychiatric care.”

What is your message to L.A.’s academic community?

“My advice would be to seriously consider supporting mental health services, as data shows that college students experience symptoms of mental health distress, illness and disorder at alarming rates.”

What do you say to students that are undergoing mental anguish?

“I would advise such students to pay attention to their mental and emotional health, as the wellness of both body and mind plays a significant role in one’s ability to succeed in life. The good news is that appropriate treatment can result in substantial gains in academic performance and overall quality of life.”

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.

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