After the Virginia Tech tragedy last April, in which a mentally ill student killed 32 classmates and faculty members before taking his own life, colleges and universities nationwide revisited their policies on mental-health care and coverage.
My classmate Erin G. Edwards reports on a program run by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill that recruits students to volunteer as peer counselors.
The program intends to reach students who wouldn’t be comfortable using a campus counseling center - say, those undergoing an isolated sad event, such as the death of a family member, rather than those with chronic anxiety or depression.
But organizers emphasize that it’s not a replacement for professional help.
We do not give advice and we do not diagnose. Our training is designed to create really empathetic listeners,” said [Northwestern volunteer Caroline] Kulczuga.
Meanwhile, Eileen Ambrose of the Baltimore Sun reports that more parents are trying to get colleges to accept and bill their families’ private health insurance when their children get sick.
Today, many colleges and universities require students to have health insurance, either through their parents or through a school plan.
But students and parents tell Ambrose that it’s inconvenient and expensive when their college won’t take care of the paperwork for reimbursement.
So, some schools are hiring outside firms to handle claims.
Mary Reeves of Kent State University said the increased money from insurers the school got by using a company will allow it to improve its mental-health services.
Whether help comes from other students or professionals, more resources and less need to worry about coverage should only be good things for America’s college students.