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Depression on College Campuses Conference 2006

Best Practices and Innovative Strategies

America’s awareness of depression issues has increased in recent years, in large part due to growing openness, changes in public policy, and visible leadership. However, depression in the young is still an under-recognized problem. We now know that depression appears first in the adolescent years, which coincides with the arrivals and tenures of individuals at college. In addition, recent national events confirm that depression among college students is a major neglected public health problem (at worst, it is a key factor contributing to suicide.) Therefore, if we are to make a difference in addressing depression in our communities, we must emphasize early detection and intervention. Only this approach will prevent the progression, chronicity, recurrence, and burden of depression.

To capitalize on the increased level of awareness and interest, The University of Michigan Depression Center and The Rackham School of Graduate Studies have co-sponsored a national conference entitled “Depression on College Campuses” which took place March 6 - 7, 2003 in Ann Arbor. The conference calls attention to and works to destigmatize the issue of depression on the college campus. Keynote speakers, scientific presenters, workshops, discussions groups, and video films review the scope and consequences of the problem, discuss optimal strategies for responding, identify barriers to implementation of those strategies, and seek to formulate public policy interventions to overcome these barriers, and catalyze a coordinated, comprehensive approach.

Since the problem will only be solved if health professionals, university leaders, resident advisors and other students, preventive education specialists, third-party payers, journalists, and parents are involved, all have participated in and contributed to the conference. In addition, since widespread education and public policy changes are key strategies to improving the problem of depression, the role of the media and of the key advocacy organizations is emphasized. These groups are not separate; we need to learn from one another.

The Conference offered diverse topics for workshops and keynotes, addressing the issue from several different points of view with a focus on the practical.

2003 Conference Highlights

Thursday, March 6, 2003

Official Welcome & Scope of the Problem

Earl Lewis, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs and Dean, Rackham Graduate School, University of Michigan; Paul Courant, Ph.D., Provost and Vice-President of Academic Affairs, University of Michigan; John F. Greden, M.D., Chair, Department of Psychiatry & Executive Director, University of Michigan Depression Center

Workshops

Panel Discussions

Fixing College Mental Health Care: No Easy Task

Moderator: Todd Sevig, PhD, University of Michigan Counseling & Psychological Services
Panelists: Richard Kadison, MD, Harvard University; Rachel Glick, MD, Associate Dean of the University of Michigan Medical School; Marianne Udow, Vice President, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan; Patrick Corrigan, University of Chicago Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation; Dr. Kristine Girard, MIT University, Co-Chair of Mental Health Task Force; University of Michigan Student

The Role of Advocacy Groups: What Are We Advocating For and How Can We Do It Together?

Moderator: John Greden, MD, Executive Director, University of Michigan Depression Center
Panelists: Richard Birkel, Executive Director, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill; Martha Hellander, Executive Director, Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation; Lydia Lewis, Executive Director, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance; Tammi Landry, Executive Director, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Ann Arbor Chapter; Shari Strauss, Mentality Inc. Co-founder

Friday, March 7, 2003

Panel Discussion

How Do Culture and Gender Affect Students with Depression?

Moderator: Mildred Tirado, PhD, Counseling & Psychological Services, Lecturer in Psychology & Women's Studies, former Director of CAPS/former Associate Dean of Students
Panelists: Meri Nana-Ama Danquah; Daniel Pak, MD, University of Michigan; Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, PhD, University of Michigan Department of Psychology; Woody Neighbors, PhD, University of Michigan School of Public Health; Jonathan Metzl, MD, PhD, University of Michigan Departments of Psychiatry and Women ’s Studies; Stacey Pearson, PhD, Counseling & Psychological Services, University of Michigan; Durriya Meer, PsyD, Counseling & Psychological Services, University of Michigan

Concurrent Sessions

  • How Can We Prevent Student Suicides?
    Paul Joffe, University of Illinois
  • Suicide Prevention in Adolescents: The Youth Nominated Support Team
    Cheryl King, PhD, University of Michigan Depression Center
  • Reaching Students Where They Are: The College Students and Depression Study
    Bonnie Hagerty, PhD, RN, CS and Reg Williams, PhD, RN, CS, University of Michigan School of Nursing
  • How Can Colleges Better Accommodate Students with Depression?
    Kim Collins, PhD, University of Illinois
  • Screening Programs: Why Do We Need Them?
    Phil & Donna Satow, The Jed Foundation

Concluding Remarks & Discussion of the Future

Earl Lewis, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs and Dean, Rackham Graduate School, University of Michigan 

Conference Follow-up

Author Andrew Solomon reflects on depression at Depression on College Campuses Conference.

Mounting Student Depression Taxing Campus Mental Health Services (JAMA)