The student-led Mental Health Task Force recommended that Student Counseling Services increase its staff by 12 members and allocate funding for three full-time psychiatrists, according to its newly released final report.
It currently employs 10 full-time counselors, fewer than half the national recommendation.
The Task Force finished its research in December and recently received approval from senior administrators, said Vice President for Student Affairs and Associate Provost Bobby Woodard. The University aims to meet its recommendations over five years.
"Although the report provides recommended policies and practices, it is important to note that the Task Force found that Auburn University currently ranks at or near the bottom with regard to the number of mental health counselors," the report states. "Therefore, it is imperative that the University’s administration begin to proactively address critical needs and prevent, to the extent possible, future crises."
The force also suggests funding for substance abuse, violence prevention and outreach employees; a strategic location change; increased diversity among counseling staff; and a standing University Committee for Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Students suffering from anxiety and depression have a greater chance of experiencing decreased academic success as well as increased chances of withdrawing from the University, the report states.
To combat this, the force recommends further education, training and efforts to de-stigmatize mental illness on campus.
National data suggests substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana continue to remain prevalent among college campuses, the report states, but many Auburn students reported that they are easily able to obtain controlled stimulants, particularly Adderall and Ritalin, from various sources without a prescription. The force recommends a stronger campus-wide approach to substance abuse education, prevention and recovery.
The force's final recommendation is to increase resources and awareness to reduce student suicide by providing training sessions for all University employees and 24-hour emergency services.