Specific Mental Health Services for Communities Reducing Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour

Mental health services are a vital component of the puzzle that is a community effort to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in universities. University can be a liberating and engaging time for students, but for others, it can be a time of stress, anxiety, loneliness, depression, and manifestation of personality disorders, mental illnesses, and addictions. The inaccessibility of mental health services and facilities and the stigma surrounding the getting of help, both serve to exacerbate the problem. Unfortunately, all of these issues can lead youngsters to anti-social behaviours and criminal activity.

Counseling, whether through an assigned advisor or counselor or through walk-in assistance must be readily and widely available, with numerous counselors ready to assist students on the same day or within twenty-four hours of need, at convenient hours throughout the day. When counseling hours are limited to only hours of class times, many students will struggle to get counseling without missing classes. Counselors must be thoroughly trained to be empathetic, aware, and knowledgeable of a variety of situations, and be able quickly to refer students to academic assistance, psychiatric services, or addiction help.

Psychiatric services, both psychologists and psychiatrists, must also be available to students quickly, with a variety of appointment times and an abundance of physicians. Students must not feel restricted by appointment wait times or by financial burdens when seeking mental help. Counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists must have good inter-university and clinic communication to best serve student needs.

Addiction and support groups for numerous issues are an integral aspect of self-care for students who are struggling. Addiction especially is an issue for university students as many are able to purchase tobacco and alcohol, and are also introduced to illegal substances for the first time. In some cases, prescription drug abuse escalates due to the stresses of school. Resources are vital for addressing such issues as they are most likely to lead to anti-social behaviour and criminality, as well as serving indicators of underlying mental health needs that must be addressed. This is vital to combatting anti-social behaviour and criminality on university campuses and within their greater communities.

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