Mental Healthcare Facilities in Schools: A Rising Need
If you think back to when you were a student, the times that you visited the nurse’s office were most likely due to an ache, fever, or upset stomach. For today’s children however, this list of common symptoms has become mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, or trauma.
According to the American Psychological Association, mental health services are the fastest-growing component for healthcare in schools. Within the last 10 years, the number of mental health care professionals on staff has more than doubled. “You will hear people say at school-based health care meetings that if there has to be a choice between a full-time nurse practitioner and a full-time mental health provider, that they’ll take the mental health provider because the unmet need is that great”.
The Source of Mental Health Symptoms
The Telegraph shared a study by National Health Services in the UK, which shows that the number of young patients being treated in hospitals has risen by 42 percent in just one year. According to Martin Jugenburg (Dr. Six), this significant increase can be attributed to a variety of stress, but social media is perhaps the biggest culprit.
In the spring of 2017, a survey was given to 1,479 young adults between the ages of 14-24 to better understand mental health within this age group. The results showed that Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter increased feelings of inadequacy and anxiety for the participants.
The results of this survey were shared in The Guardian, which explains that these four platforms have a negative effect because they can: exacerbate body image worries, bullying, sleep problems and feelings of anxiety, depression or loneliness.
Social media can also create feelings of inadequacy when others post pictures of special events or parties that their peers were invited to when they were not. Even among adults, social media has been proven to create sadness when friends post about a new job, house, baby, vacation, or the other “highlight reel” of their lives. This creates a feeling within us that we are being left out or that we have to compete with our online network.
Benefits of Adding Mental Healthcare Facilities on Campus
By adding mental health services to schools and colleges, this can help students work through their individual issues with therapy, crisis counseling, mental health screenings, and substance abuse prevention (APA). Once implemented, there are several benefits that can be expected to improve the school system according to Governing: “First, it helps close the health-insurance gap. But perhaps more important, students are reportedly more willing to seek help for sensitive issues like depression, suicide attempts, weight problems and pregnancy prevention at health centers inside school walls.”
Improved Attendance and Behavior
Studies also show that having a school-based health center improves student attendance, dropout rates, and classroom behavior. In Massachusetts and Texas, student absences were cut in half after receiving student based health center services, according to Governing. In Texas, the students who received in-school mental health services had 85 percent fewer discipline referrals.
Emotional and behavioral health issues cause significant barriers to learning, academic achievement, and test scores, according to Social Work Today. This same research shows that when mental health interventions are implemented, academic performance scores can be significantly improved. In other words- when you feel better, you perform better.
Prevention of Self-Harm
With monitored screening and therapy sessions, professionals can keep a close-eye on students who may be suffering with depression or thoughts of suicide. Often times, students are able to hide this from friends and family, until it is too late. Half of all diagnosable-mental health conditions begin at the age of 14, and the earlier the condition is treated the better chance a student has of leading a healthy and happy adult life.
Building Mental Health Facilities on Campus
As more schools and colleges implement on-campus services, the quality of the facilities and environment should be taken into consideration. “Everything that we’ve learned about how design can influence physical health, we need to be applying to mental health, because in the end, it has the same effect.”– Healthcare Design.
This article goes on to explain that an ideal facility would incorporate safety, security, single-patient rooms, pleasing colors, natural light, and artwork. This creates an environment where students feel at-ease and are more willing to open up, because there is a sense of calmness and healing.
Modular Building Construction and Mental Health Facilities
Whether you are a college campus looking to add a mental healthcare building, or you are a school that is looking to add an addition to an already-existing facility, modular construction is an ideal choice for your next building project.
A pre-built modular mental health clinic can be custom-designed to fit any needs of your organization, and will be developed with a therapeutic environment for staff and patients:
- Natural lighting
- Appropriate lighting systems
- Noise reduction
- Colors, patterns, and textures
- Good indoor air quality
- Suitable technology access
- Group space
- Inpatient units with family zones
- Day rooms
- Dining rooms
- Activity rooms
- Seclusion rooms
Functionality, security, and a healing environment are the focus for any mental health project with Vanguard Modular. If you would like more information on the lease or purchase of a mental health clinic, click here. Or you can visit us at VanguardModular.com for a free quote on our fast and cost-effective building solutions.