Colleges take new approaches to male students struggling with depression

Concerned that they aren’t reaching enough young men, college counseling centers are making extra efforts to draw them in.

The centers, which usually offer support groups and one-on-one therapy for struggling students, have faced growing demand for their services in recent years. Still, men make up only 33.9 percent of clients, according to the latest annual survey by the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors. Men represented 43.8 percent of the student population at the schools surveyed.

School officials say they need to reach out to these men where they hang out—at their fraternities, clubs and sports teams.

“We cannot just sit inside the counseling center and expect men to come in,” says Micky M. Sharma, the director at Ohio State University’s Office of Student Life Counseling and Consultation Service.

At Ohio State, the counseling-center staff is hosting disc golf games—where players throw a Frisbee at a target. At each target, staffers will ask students questions to spark conversations about men’s mental health. (Example: “What parts of traditional masculinity do you not fit in with?”)

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