Almost everyone you meet is suffering from at least 1 mental health condition.

As college students returned or entered college this fall, the important issue of anxiety and depression is a discussion that parents, college students and professionals who work with students do not want to forget.

Unfortunately, up to 75% of struggling students are reluctant to seek help.

This increases the risk of harmful outcomes, such as dropping out of college (which is what 41% of students do), poor academic performance, suicide and substance abuse.

Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety in Students Might Look like the following:

– Difficulty handling schoolwork

– Loss of interest in activities, such as clubs, sports, or other social commitments

– Changes in eating or sleeping patterns

– Emotional outbursts

– Sense of being overwhelmed

– Panic

– Inability to self-assess

– Low energy


Up to 44% of college students reported having symptoms of depression and anxiety.

More startling statistics regarding college students and mental health include:

– Suicide is the third leading cause of death for college students.

– Of those who have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, 75% have their first episode by 24

– 30% of students reported feeling depressed in the past year.

– 50% of students reported feeling overwhelmingly anxious in the past year.

– Nearly 66% of students who developed substance abuse problems also were found to suffer from mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

Social Pressure and Skill Deficits

Why are students struggling and suffering so much?

A few factors are the increased societal pressure to achieve success and students not being equipped with necessary life skills.

Julie Scelfco, writing for The New York Times, described that young adults are increasingly faced with negotiating “America’s culture of hyper-achievement” and “the pressure to be effortlessly perfect.” As a result, their mental health and well-being are suffering.

These students arrive for their first day of classes and are increasingly less prepared to function as adults.

Facing Pressure from Parents

The rising cost of education has placed pressure on students and their families that youth are being pushed to their limits as early as their elementary school years by parents who are focused on their children’s future potential successes.

Julie Lythcott-Haims, the former dean of students at Stanford University, wrote that “Children deserve to be strengthened, not strangled, by the fierceness of a parent’s love.”

To support students’ mental health, preparation and adequate support must begin at a young age. Coping skills are so important to help children as they grow and progress into mature adults who will have to face real-world problems.

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