Mental Health Concerns Are Increasing Among College Students
Mental health issues are on the rise among college students, the numbers suggest, and parents and high schools are being encouraged to play a bigger role in dissolving the problem.
There are no specific reasons offered as to why, and much of the jump may simply be associated with a reduced stigma surrounding mental illness, but according to the American College Health Association's spring 2014 report, 14.3 percent of college students were diagnosed or treated by a professional for anxiety over the past year. Depression affected 12 percent of students.
At Monmouth University, Franca Mancini with the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services said they see an even distribution of students from each grade, including the graduate level.
"At different stages of the game, there are different hurdles to overcome," she said. "There's stressors everywhere you look - financial, academic, social, interpersonal."
Mancini suggested mental health issues don't always begin in college, however. Instead, they're exaggerated when there's a hotter spotlight on performance, independence and transition into a completely new environment.
"Now it's up to them to get to class on time…to get your homework done and nobody's going to tell you to," Mancini said.
Months later, final exams are causing the stress. Years later, graduation and finding a job are too much to handle.
Students, though, do not have to be completely unprepared for college life, the experts say. Months before a young adult is headed for their first year away from home, parents can start them on a path of doing certain duties on their own, such as managing a budget or making doctor appointments.
Mancini said high schools can play a major role as well.
"We really focus a lot today on the right school, and that's absolutely important, but it's just as important to prepare the students for their independence, which is right around the corner," she said.
To help with the transition, most college campuses across the country offer a special first year class that educates students on how to study for exams and where to locate on-campus services.