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Campus lacks resources to meet demand for mental health services, safety initiatives

For the past five months, journalism students and faculty have examined the state of mental health treatment at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus.

Their work was part of an examination of mental health programs conducted by the Investigative Journalism Education Consortium, a network of journalism faculty and students at Midwest universities and colleges that is funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation based in Chicago. (See full package here)

The consortium reviewed services at campus counseling centers in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri. The review found that centers often fell far short of the number of mental health providers recommended by the International Association of Counseling Services.

More than 10,000 students on the Illinois campus seek help from counseling center, which has 20 full-time counselors. Many have serious problems and more than 60 attempted suicide last year.

In their ongoing review, the students found the campus is unable to meet national standard for the counselor to student ratio. They also found that recommended safety measures following campus shootings at Northern Illinois University and Virginia Tech have not been met or are being slowly implemented.

And they found the strain on the campus system is increasing as students with more serious mental illnesses are enrolling.

Explore their findings below:

University campus struggle to meet growing demand for mental health services

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is seeing more demand for mental health services but is struggling to meet that demand.

More of the university’s students are on psychiatric medication and more students are diagnosed with severe issues such as depression and anxiety than in years past.



Lack of evacuation plans leaves student, staff unprepared

By Mary Beth Versaci/ Of the approximately 450 buildings on the University of Illinois campus, only 75 have Building Emergency Action Plans completed or in progress. This means that a little more than 16 percent have evacuation plans in place in the event of an emergency.


Sidebar: Behavioral Intervention Teams

By Mary Beth Versaci/A Behavioral Intervention Team is made up of representatives from offices across the University of Illinois campus meets once a week to discuss students whose behavior can be considered disruptive and concerning to the rest of the campus community.



Four years later, state-funded campus security grant still waiting to be disbursement

By Mary Beth Versaci/Nearly four years after a report on Illinois campus security recommended that $25 million be appropriated for the improvement of campus security across the state, no college or university has received any money, and state officials are just beginning to draft plans for a grant program using the funds.






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