Student-led mental health clubs are sprouting up across college campuses

With mental health services stretched thin across U.S. college campuses, there is a growing trend of students creating peer-run mental health clubs and organizations, which appear to be beneficial, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

For the study, researchers polled more than 1,100 students across 12 California colleges via an online survey during the 2016-17 school year. The survey contained questions about mental health awareness, how familiar participants were with Active Minds, a national organization supporting student-run mental health clubs across college campuses, their attitudes about mental health and their experiences with mental difficulties.

At the end of the academic year, researchers found students' knowledge about mental health increased, while their stigma toward it decreased. Across 12 colleges in California, the student-run groups and organizations increased awareness of mental health problems on campus while helping to reduce stigma and promote helping behaviors.

"Student-organized activities can improve college student mental health attitudes and play an important role in improving the campus climate with respect to mental health," Bradley Stein, MD, senior physician policy researcher at the Rand Corp. and one of the paper's lead authors, told The Washington Post.

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