Serious Mental Troubles of College Students Rising: Eating Disorders, Depression, Self-Injury, Suicidal Thoughts Are Up
Posted By Vicki McClure Davidson on December 21, 2010
Severe psychological troubles — like suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, depression, self-injury, and alcohol abuse — for college students are on the rise, according to a new survey by the American College Counseling Association.
So much for the delivery of the liberal fantasy of “hopenchange” among young adults. Some believe the rise is due to the stressful times in which we live — others, that psychotropic medications permit more students with grave mental health problems to enter college.
Reported by NY Times, Mental Health Needs Seen Growing at Colleges:
A recent survey by the American College Counseling Association found that a majority of students seek help for normal post-adolescent trouble like romantic heartbreak and identity crises. But 44 percent in counseling have severe psychological disorders, up from 16 percent in 2000, and 24 percent are on psychiatric medication, up from 17 percent a decade ago.
The most common disorders today: depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, alcohol abuse, attention disorders, self-injury and eating disorders.
Stony Brook, an academically demanding branch of the State University of New York (its admission rate is 40 percent), faces the mental health challenges typical of a big public university. It has 9,500 resident students and 15,000 who commute from off-campus. The highly diverse student body includes many who are the first in their families to attend college and carry intense pressure to succeed, often in engineering or the sciences. A Black Women and Trauma therapy group last semester included participants from Africa, suffering post-traumatic stress disorder from violence in their youth.
Stony Brook has seen a sharp increase in demand for counseling — 1,311 students began treatment during the past academic year, a rise of 21 percent from a year earlier. At the same time, budget pressures from New York State have forced a 15 percent cut in mental health services over three years.
Dr. Hwang, a clinical psychologist who became director in July 2009, has dealt with the squeeze by limiting counseling sessions to 10 per student and referring some, especially those needing long-term treatment for eating disorders or schizophrenia, to off-campus providers.
From MyFox Philly, Mental Health Needs Growing with College Students:
College students around the country are coming home for winter break after a semester at school with more than just bad roommate horror stories and the dreaded “Freshmen 15.”
More and more college students are suffering from serious mental health illnesses, new studies have suggested.
But the typical stresses of college life, like high academic demands, the always present party scene, and homesickness, might not be the reason for the increase, according to experts .
The rise is likely due to an increase in students coming into college with pre-existing mental health issues who may not have been able to survive in a campus setting without the aid of prescription drugs
Experts stated the trend is partly linked to effective psychotropic drugs – like Wellbutrin, Adderall, and Abilify – that have allowed students suffering depression, attention disorder, and bipolar disorder to attend college, The New York Times reported.
These increases in more serious mental health issues among students have put a strain on university and college counseling services.
“It’s so different from how people might stereotype the concept of college counseling, or back in the ’70s students coming in with existential crises: who am I?” Dr. Jenny Hwang, the director of counseling at Stony Brook University, told The Times. “Now they’re bringing in life stories involving extensive trauma, a history of serious mental illness, eating disorders, self-injury, alcohol and other drug use.”
According to a recent survey by the American College Counseling Association, a majority of students seek help for normal post-adolescent trouble like romantic heartbreak and identity crises.
JENNY HWANG, director of counseling at Stony Brook University, on the increase over the last decade in rates of serious mental illness among college students who seek counseling on campus [via The New York Times]
A recent survey conducted by the American College Counseling Association found that 44% of students seeking counseling already had diagnosed psychiatric disorders. But Hwang and other experts agree that modern college students may not necessarily be less mentally healthy than in past generations. Rather, it could be that psychotropic medications now allow vulnerable teens — who may not have made it to college in the past — to do well enough in high school to gain college admission and survive on campus, the New York Times reports.