"I Feel like it improves Everything": Empowering experiences of college students utilizing psychiatric treatment

Derrick Kranke, Sarah Elizabeth Jackson, Jerry Floersch, Lisa Townsend, Eileen Anderson-Fye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Psychiatric treatment is critical for people living with mental illness as it enables resumption of normal roles and engagement in meaningful opportunities, and it increases the chance of positive long-term outcomes. There is an urgent need to assess college student experience of psychiatric treatment because as many as 45% of college students may meet the criteria for a mental illness diagnosis. All college students are at some risk for negative mental health outcomes because of home-to-college stressors, but these are often intensified for those students living with a mental illness. The aim of this article is to qualitatively explore the psychiatric treatment and recovery experiences of college students diagnosed with mental health disorders, with a particular focus on the impact of treatment on the academic and social aspects of college. Seventeen undergraduate college students who had a psychiatric illness and were taking prescribed psychiatric medication were enrolled in this study. A semistructured interview queried college students about their perceptions of having psychiatric diagnoses and taking psychiatric medications. Authors conducted thematic analysis by using the constant comparative method for coding data and sorting in vivo codes by a shared theme. Respondents reported positive attitudes toward medication and services, endorsing themes of positive family influence, improved functioning, acceptance toward medication and service usage, willingness to disclose, and independent management of treatment. College students were empowered by their treatment because of its positive effects on success and integration into the college setting. Environmental factors that influence college students' feeling of empowerment are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-231
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013

Keywords

  • College mental health
  • Empowerment
  • Psychiatric medication
  • Psychiatric treatment
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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