California State University mental health survey will measure campus perceptions

Ashley Hurtado

The California State University Chancellor’s Office, in partnership with two California agencies, surveyed Sacramento State students about their experiences with mental illness and mental health services on campus.

Elizabeth Chapin, administrative support coordinator for the Chancellor’s Office said RAND Corporation and the California Mental Health and Services Authority conducted the surveys to explore students perception of mental health, and gain insight on how well students feel the university has met their needs.

“RAND was contracted by the California Mental Health Services Authority to conduct a statewide survey that was sent to any organization that received grant money from CalMHSA throughout the state,” Chapin said. “This includes some CSU campuses, including Sacramento State.”

The grant, provided by the California Mental Health Services Authority, helps fund various programs in the Wellness Promotion department of  the WELL.

Chapin said the CSU system is concerned with mental health because they understand the impact it can have on college students.  

Ronald Lutz, clinical director of Counseling Services, said the traditional purpose of providing support is to help them complete university courses and graduate.

“There is understanding that some percentage of students who come to the university will have some kind of  emotional or psychological difficulty that may get in the way of their studies,” Lutz said. “If we can help them remediate those problems, then they are much more likely to stay in school, and graduate.”

Some students, who could benefit from counseling, choose not to utilize this service because of  stigmas related to mental health and counseling services, Lutz said.

“People have this idea that if  they come to counseling then something  is wrong with them,” Lutz said. “Some people have fears that they will end up on all kinds of medications, or maybe have worse problems than (they) actually have. So there is all that general kind of fear and stigma around mental health issues.”  

Lutz wants people to understand that mental health issues are a normal part of life.

Junior biology major Jorge Serrano said it is important for students to comprehend mental illness, even if they do not suffer from this condition.  

“It’s important to understand because for me to be indifferent about these topics is irresponsible of me,” Serrano said.  “As a student of a very diverse campus, (I understand) that diversity is not just not race, culture and financial status but also mental status and physical status. So for someone to truly understand diversity they need to understand mental illness as well.”