College students are at high risk for mental health problems, yet many do not receive treatment even when services are available. Treatment needs may be even higher among sexual minority students, but little is known about how these students differ from heterosexual peers in terms of mental health needs and service utilization.
A total of 33,220 California college students completed an online survey on mental health needs (e.g., current serious psychological distress and mental health–related academic impairment) and service utilization. Using logistic regressions, we examined differences in student characteristics, mental health service use, and perceived barriers to using on-campus services by sexual minority status.
Sexual minority individuals represent a sizeable minority of college students; these students use mental health services at higher rates than heterosexual peers but have high rates of unmet treatment need. Efforts to address commonly reported barriers to on-campus service use, foster sexual minority-affirmative campus environments, and promote awareness of campus services may help reduce unmet treatment need in this population.
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