Rise in College Student Mental Health Issues Reported
More than 75 percent of lifetime mental health conditions are diagnosed before the age of 24.
College counselors are reportedly seeing a record number of students suffering from mental health issues, with depression and anxiety notably the most common.
From 2015 to 2016, students seeking mental health support jumped 50 percent, according to a recent study by the Penn State University Center for Collegiate Mental Health. The study collected data from 139 institutions during the 2015-2016 academic year.
“What has increased over the past five years is threat-to-self characteristics, including serious suicidal thoughts and self-injurious behaviors,” says Ashley Stauffer, project manager for the Center for Collegiate Mental Health.
Of the students who pursued professional help, 26 percent had intentionally hurt themselves and 33 percent had considered suicide. Both statistics increased from the 2014-2015 academic year.
According to a report from the National Alliance on Mental Health, over 75 percent of lifetime mental health conditions are diagnosed before the age of 24, making college a critical timeframe.
Some additional statistics from the report include:
- 1 out of 4 adults between the ages of 18 and 24 have a diagnosed mental illness
- 73 percent of college students living with a mental health condition have had a mental health crisis while on campus
- 64 percent of young adults who have dropped out of college report doing so due to a mental health related reason
In an interview with NBC News, Judith Green, director of the Center for Health and Counseling Services at Ramapo College in New Jersey, says that Millennials are more vulnerable to college stress due to the prominence of the internet. Green also states that Millenials have a tendency to harbor negative emotions.
“This generation has grown up with instant access via the internet to everything. This has led to challenges with frustration tolerance and delaying gratification.”
On the contrary, Green also believes that ease of access to the internet has helped many students, giving them numerous platforms to seek help and the ability to reach students wherever they are.
With freshman being the most vulnerable students, Ramapo College reinforces with both parents and students at orientation that mental health resources are always available.
Green lists primary vulnerabilities of freshman as being away from home for the first time, accessibility to drugs and alcohol, and rigorous academic demands.