Mental Health on College Campuses
There is growing concern about the state of mental health on college campuses, with the number of students who have gone to seek help increasing by 50% in the last year. A survey carried out showed that 33% of all students surveyed reported feeling depressed in the past 12 months. 55% reported feelings of anxiety, while close to 90% felt overwhelmed with the responsibilities. 9% of all surveyed students reported having thoughts of suicide over the last year. The sad fact about these figures is that 40% of the students do not seek help.
Mental Health Crisis On College Campuses
The pressure to succeed and social and academic stresses can be overwhelming for many students. College for most students is the first time they have the freedom to make their own choices that could make a real impact in their lives. Also, the fear of the unknown can be a contributing factor to the crisis.
- Intense academic pressure to succeed
- Social media
This pressure is to do well together with the financial strain contributing to the decrease in a student’s mental health. For most students, the pressure starts before college, where they feel pressure to do well to get into increasingly selective universities.
Social media is not helping the situation. There is a growing presence of social media and the Internet that pressure students to want to be perfect, a non-realistic standard. Social media can prompt unfavorable comparisons between peers exacerbating the symptoms of mental illness.
- Poor handling of mental issues on college campuses
Due to the rise in the number of students needing counseling, the college counseling centers are overflowing with the high demand. Some are not able to handle the broad mental needs of the students seeking help. Many of the universities are dealing with the challenge. College mental health facilities have insufficient funding, and therefore students have inadequate access to proper care and treatment. Colleges are now devising quick screening tools and a brief consultation to determine each student’s needs quickly.
Rapid Evolution of Technology – Information Overload
Over the past few decades, there has been an acceleration of technology. The emergence of the Internet, Facebook, smartphones, and other social media technologies have changed the social fabric and how people relate to each other. The hyper-connected nature of the world creates opportunities and creates chaos and danger that are recipes for stress. This hyper-connected nature gives access to more choices and information that can be overwhelming and confusing.
- Problematic attitudes towards those with mental illness
Even though mental illness is more visible in the last couple of years, it is still not easy to discuss and can come with a lot of stigma for those who have a mental illness. Generally, people avoid talking about the problem, both those suffering and those around them.
What To Do
Mental health education is needed and not just from the campus counseling center. Having more classes that teach life skills on top of having open conversations about mental health can combat future fears. Universities should create an environment that fosters student development.