Almost half a million students attend Virginia's colleges and universities. About 45% attend one of the 15 four-year public colleges, 17% attend one of the 25 four-year private colleges, and 38% attend one of the 24 public two-year colleges.

Last October, the Joint Commission on Health Care agreed to undertake a study of mental health issues in the Commonwealth's colleges and universities. The study is being conducted by two task forces - one to assess students' access to mental health services and the other to analyze legal issues surrounding colleges' responses to students' mental health needs. In the spring of 2010, the Joint Commission, in coordination with the Commission on Mental Health Law Reform, conducted a survey of Virginia's public and private colleges to collect relevant data bearing on these issues. Data was requested for the 2008-09 academic year.. The survey response rate was a remarkable 98%. The study's task forces are now reviewing and analyzing the data and will report their conclusions and recommendations to the Joint Commission next spring. However, key findings of the survey are summarized in this article.

Richard J. Bonnie, Key Findings from the Virginia College Mental Health Survey, Developments in Mental Health Law 7–10 (2011).