Substance Abuse & Mental Health Issues On College Campuses: Prevention, Treatment & Support


Substance abuse has had a long-standing presence on college campuses nationwide and continues to be a difficult problem to solve. Adjusting to campus life is challenging and stressful for many students. They have to navigate a new life, roommates, responsibilities, and a different educational environment. Alcohol and drug abuse can be an attractive coping mechanism for some students.

Additionally, mental health issues among students are increasing, and their frequent co-occurrence with substance abuse complicates the provision of appropriate treatment. In this presentation we will discuss current trends regarding substances being used on college campuses, identify common co-occurring mental health disorders, and explore current prevention, treatment, and support plans being used on college campuses.

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Alliance on Mental Illness on mental health on college campuses shows that:.


  • Investigation of current trends regarding substances being used on college campuses
  • Identification of common co-occurring mental health disorders correlated with substance use disorders
  • Increased understanding of the reasons for these correlations
  • Exploration of current prevention, treatment and support plans put in place in various university settings
  • Discussion of potential prevention strategies

Who Should Attend?

  • 2-year institutions & 4-year institutions
  • Vice President of Academic Affairs/Instruction
  • Vice President of Student Affairs
  • Dean of Instruction
  • Dean of Student Services/Affairs
  • Advising
  • Counseling
  • Residence Life
  • Retention Specialist
  • First-Year Experience Coordinators
  • Anyone interested in helping students with mental health & substance abuse issues

“ Often counseling and student affairs professionals see the use of alcohol and drugs only as a problem. But to the student who has been struggling with anxiety and depression-often unidentified or under-treated for years, these very substances initially not only make them feel better than they have ever felt, but better than they could have even imagined they could feel. It is this experience that can so powerfully bind them to continued use despite worsening mental health and addiction symptoms. - Jonathan Beazley, LMFT, LADC ”

Jonathan Beazley LMFT LADC is a clinician with over 35 years in the field of substance abuse treatment. He is presently the AOD (Alcohol and Other Drugs) Interventionist at the UConn campus in Storrs where he has provided student counseling, campus outreach, internship training and educational seminars since 2009. He also has a private practice in Chaplin, CT, where he works with individuals, groups, families and couples, predominantly focusing on substance abuse. Not only has he had experience in every level-of-care in the behavioral health spectrum, he has also managed an array of substance abuse/mental health services in his career, including inpatient detoxification, residential, intensive outpatient and outpatient levels of care. Additionally, he is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist having earned his MFT at Southern Connecticut State University in 1991, and frequently works with the families and loved ones of persons battling substance-use disorders.

" Treatment is a process, whether it be substance use or mental health treatment, or both. Change may not be observed immediately, but it is important to remember that every bit of what we do in our roles throughout the university to encourage students to get the help that they need, is a valuable part of the treatment process. – Paige Hover, PsyD"

Paige Hover, PsyD is a recent graduate of the Clinical Psychology Program at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Hover has dedicated much of her professional training career to substance use treatment and prevention in various settings throughout the nation. Dr. Hover began co-leading therapy groups with patients in a psychiatric inpatient hospital on their chemical dependency unit. This group employed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to help group members identify values and goals to sustain their treatment progress beyond the initial stages. Dr. Hover’s training then shifted gears to focus on providing individual and group therapy to adolescent males in a medium security prison who had been identified as having had problems with substance use. This was a rewarding and educational experience from which she came to understand some of the unique challenges clients can encounter in conjunction to managing their recovery. Dr. Hover was then able to draw upon these skills in her role in the intake department at a renowned residential rehabilitation facility specializing in substance use and mental health treatment. Dr. Hover served on the front lines, gaining valuable assessment skills as well as getting first-hand accounts of the raw emotion associated with the decision to seek help.

For the past three years, Dr. Hover has worked and trained in various college counseling centers. It is here that her passion and enthusiasm for her work truly blossomed; she recognized the challenge in promoting and providing substance use treatment in an environment where social norms can desensitize students to the dangers of substance abuse. Cultivating her natural enthusiasm, she collaborated with Jonathan Beazley, LMFT, LADC to educate as many people as possible about substance use and mental health issues on campuses and to inspire discussions about ways various university representatives can all work together to help students succeed, despite the challenges they face. She is currently completing her post-doctoral fellowship at Eastern Michigan University, and she aspires to develop and implement effective substance use prevention and treatment and recovery programs in universities nationwide.

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