College Students Face New Mental Health Challenges

By Sonia Sevilla (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Depression used to be the number one problem that faced college students across the United States. However, according to the New York Times, that is no longer the case.

Anxiety

Currently, anxiety is the number one main problem facing college students in the country today. The Times cited a recent study of more than 100,000 students by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State. The study found that more than half of students seeking help a campus clinics reported anxiety as the main issue.

Mental health counselor’s state students today have a much harder time dealing with anxiety than in previous generations. This fact is partially due to the prevalence of “helicopter parents.”
Dan Jones, director of counseling and psychological services at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina states, “They can’t tolerate discomfort or having to struggle. A primary symptom of is worrying, and they don’t have the ability to soothe themselves.”

The number of students who are contending with mental illness has been steadily on the rise in recent years. In 2010, the New York Times reported a national survey showed that nearly half of all college students had sought counseling for serious mental health issues. This figure was double the rate that was reported in 2000.

In 2010, the American College Counseling Association cited by the NY Times found that 24 percent of college students seeking mental health services were on antidepressant medications, as compared to 17 percent in 2000.

After anxiety and depression, the most common reason why students are seeking mental health services is due to relationship and family issues, stress and academic performance.

Going to college can be very stressful and it can be hard to juggle new surroundings, new friends, work and family life. Trying to adjust to college life can be intense and frustrating, which is normal. The children of today need to learn how to balance anxiety and cope with stress in healthier ways.

Everyday Stress or Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety is helpful and it keeps people out of harm’s way and warns us when there is a need to take action. However, anxiety that’s ever-present, uncontrollable and overwhelming may be indicative of something deeper going on.

The term “anxiety disorder” includes panic attacks, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety, selective mutism, and social anxiety disorders. Although obsessive compulsive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorders are closely related to anxiety disorders, they are more closely associated with depression.

How to Deal with Stress

In order for college students to avoid falling victim to anxiety and stress, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends using a variety of different strategies. Taking a time out and practicing yoga, meditating and learning relaxation techniques can help clear the mind and allow a person to gain a better perception of issues going on in their life.

Practicing healthy eating habits and regularly engaging in exercising are great ways to make sure the body and mind stay functioning normally. Limiting alcohol and caffeine and getting enough sleep will also help in how a person deals with stress and anxiety.

The key to managing stress and anxiety is to take care of yourself and finding the right balance of things to make you feel peaceful and calm. By allowing children to go through life’s struggles and figuring out solutions to their own problems, parents can alleviate the chances of them being unable to deal effectively with stress and anxiety.

 
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