UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications


Mental health issues among college students: who gets referred for psychopharmacology evaluation?

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry, Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Higher Education | Psychiatry and Psychology | Psychology


OBJECTIVE: To describe diagnostic and psychotropic medication prescription characteristics among college students referred by college counseling centers for psychopharmacologic evaluation.

PARTICIPANTS: Participants were 540 college students referred by 6 college counseling centers in Massachusetts between November 2005 and May 2011.

METHODS: Students completed self-report measures of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and attempts, and substance use. Information regarding DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition) diagnosis, previous history of medication prescription, and current psychotropic medication(s) prescribed by the consulting psychiatrist was obtained from medical records.

RESULTS: Depression, anxiety, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were the most common psychiatric problems identified in students. Half of these students had been prescribed mediation prior to evaluation. Antidepressant medication was the most frequently prescribed medication. A large proportion of students reported previous thoughts of suicide, and 12% had made at least 1 suicide attempt.

CONCLUSIONS: Depression, anxiety, and ADHD are common among students referred by college counseling centers for medication evaluation and treatment.

DOI of Published Version



J Am Coll Health. 2015;63(1):50-6. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2014.960423. Epub 2014 Dec 1. Link to article on publisher's website

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of American college health : J of ACH

PubMed ID