Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Ann Chapleau

Second Advisor

Jane Baas

Third Advisor

Maureen Mickus


Introduction: All college students will experience stress related to academic demands, changing social situations and new environments. For some students, these multiple stressors can create overwhelming challenges. Students who are not able to receive needed support may be unable to successfully navigate the world of higher education, and are at higher risk of developing mental illness. The purpose of this study is to assess mental health services available at Western Michigan University (WMU) in comparison to other similar size universities within the state.

Method: The information used in this study was collected via several methods. Information was gathered from ten medium to large Michigan universities; which compares student populations, and the number of counselors and psychiatrists employed. This data was obtained from phone calls to college counseling departments, examining staff directories and from a review of the literature. Web based research of prevalent student run mental health groups on college campuses was also completed.

Results: The information collected reveals that WMU is ranked sixth for student to counselor ratio out of the ten schools analyzed. For the ratio of the number of students to psychiatrists, WMU is also ranked sixth out of ten. WMU was the only university that did not provide student-run support groups or registered student organizations devoted to mental health.

Conclusion: WMU lacks important mental health services. Hiring more psychiatrists and counselors, providing student groups that heighten awareness, and supplying students with more information may increase the mental health of students in a positive way. Future studies should examine students’ opinions on their universities mental health services and what they feel would help them the most.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access