LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Mental Health Association in New York State and Siena College teamed up Friday to hold a forum on mental health concerns. By inviting administrators from colleges across the region and medical experts, the event hopes to start the conversation about providing better resources for students.

“There really is a cause for concern, and that’s why we really think that today’s forum is so important,” said Glenn Liebman the CEO of MHANYS. Numerous stakeholders were present to provide insight, as well as field ideas on how to better resources available for students who need them.

“Start having a dialogue about what we can do better about mental health on college campuses,” Liebman explained. “That’s really what this is about.”

Over the past few years, mental health concerns have been brought to the forefront. A study conducted by the Healthy Minds Network found roughly 60% of college students in the last academic year met the criteria of at least one mental health condition. That’s a nearly 50% increase since 2013.

“The mental health crisis that we’re facing right now comes from the simple fact that college is a massive change in students’ lives. Whether you’re a residential student, a commuter student, it’s a lifestyle change, it’s a place you’re spending every day, brand new people in your life,” said Elizabeth Byrnes, Founding President of Active Minds at Siena.

From a student perspective, she says the crisis has been exacerbated by the pandemic. “As the incoming classes missed out on a lot of socialization in high school, and the upper classes here kind of missed out on large parts of college, and are kind of figuring out who they are, what they want to do with their lives,” Byrnes said.

MHANYS says it looks forward to continuing working with lawmakers, colleges, and other stakeholders to help improve the lives of students.