1. An Introduction to AUCCCD
Presented to the NCAA Student-Athlete Summit December 3-5, 2008
Gregory T. Eells, Ph.D.
Director, Counseling and Psychological Services, Cornell University
President of the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD)
2. Outline I. Mission
II. Current Issues and Hot Topics in College Mental Health
III. Current Work With Collegiate Student Athletes
IV. Opportunities for Further Collaboration
3. Mission Assist directors of counseling services in providing effective leadership and management of their centers, in accord with the professional principles and standards.
Promotes the awareness of college student mental health through research, treatment, education, and training.
Special attention to issues of diversity and multiculturalism.
4. Mission Approximately 600 member institutions
Member staff size ranges from 1 to 45 mental health professionals
Member institutions provide counseling to approximately 10% of students at respective institutions.
Provided over one million therapy sessions last year.
5. Current Issues and Hot Topics in College Mental Health Increasing acuity and severity of mental health concerns of college students.
More students coming to campus with extensive treatment histories and already being prescribed psychotropic medication.
Students first experiencing serious mental illness in the traditional college student age range.
6. Current Issues and Hot Topics in College Mental Health Increased concerns around suicide
University of Texas study with 26,000 college students
50% of the students reported that they had thought about suicide at some point in their lives
15% had seriously considered attempting
More than 5% had made an attempt.
~1,400 college students kill themselves each year
7. Current Issues and Hot Topics in College Mental Health Increasing concerns about potential violence (post Va. Tech, NIU, etc)
Focus on threat assessment and violence prevention.
Concern that the relatively miniscule risk of high profile violence will overshadow much greater risks of alcohol related deaths and suicide.
More issues around hospitalizations and health leaves.
8. Current Issues and Hot Topics in College Mental Health Building Bridges with colleagues across campus to identify students with mental health concerns.
Finding innovative ways to reach students who are at great risk and reluctant to seek care.
Maintaining the essential confidentiality protections around counseling work without alienating campus partners.
9. Current Work With Collegiate Student Athletes Counseling centers treat thousands of student athlete's for depression, anxiety, relationship issues and a host of other issues similar to their peers who are not NCAA athletes.
Three areas where being an athlete raises unique challenges:
Alcohol and other Drugs
10. Current Work With Collegiate Student Athletes Eating Disorders National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) (2006)found nearly 20% of respondents believe that at some point they have suffered from an eating disorder.
Research that has demonstrated lifetime prevalence rates between .05-4%.
11. Current Work With Collegiate Student Athletes A (2002) study of 680 student athletes at OSU found 83 percent of the athletes reported no signs of an eating disorder. Another 15 percent showed some behaviors associated with an eating disorder (binge-eating and purging).
59 percent of female athletes thought that their bodies were too fat, compared to 20 percent of male athletes.
Can be at a higher risk for medical complications such as electrolyte imbalances and cardiac arrhythmias and for sudden death from cardiac arrest.
12. Current Work With Collegiate Student Athletes Combination of focus on regulating diet, intense exercise, competition and comments form coaches and peers can play a role in the development of an eating disorder.
Many counseling services provide treatment and support while others do not.
13. Current Work With Collegiate Student Athletes Alcohol and other Drugs -National College Health Assessment (2006) data-24% of men and 21% of women report drinking five or more alcoholic drinks 1-2 times in the last 2 weeks
23% of men and 11% of women report drinking at the same level 3 or more times.
~1,700 alcohol related deaths each year.
Increased recreational (off label) use of prescription drugs
14. Current Work With Collegiate Student Athletes Athletes that feel the pressure to enhance their performance may turn to substances.
Teams may have histories or cultures that promote excessive drinking.
Counseling service often provide treatment or consultations to students facing the negative consequences of substance use.
15. Current Work With Collegiate Student Athletes Hazing-Alfred University (1999) survey found that 80 percent of college athletes had been hazed.
Groups that require strong affiliation to function are prone to hazing type behaviors.
Counseling services often pick up the pieces of emotional and psychological trauma that result from hazing.
16. Opportunities for Further Collaboration Education efforts to alert coaches and athletes about the symptoms of mental health concerns and conveying the message that it is strong and smart to seek help.
Discussions about how to combat the contextual factors that support eating disorders, substance abuse, and hazing.
Developing health leave policies that will support student athletes.
17. Conclusion We are all interested in the health and mental health of our students.
Efforts like this to bring our voices together to address the developmental issues of our students is the direction we all need to take.