Attending and graduating from college is one of the most important journeys most people experience in their lifetime. It can be a gateway to future success and happiness – but it can also be the cause of great anxiety and mental stress. Many students worry about grades, financing their education, and living up to the expectations of their parents and family.
How many college students have anxiety?
The rise of anxiety and other mood disorders over the past decade has been well documented by college counseling directors and independent researchers. Some of the more stunning statistics include:
- 95% of college counseling directors noted that the population of students with significant or severe mental health issues is growing on their campus
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students
- 20% of college students surveyed said they had or have had an eating disorder
- Almost 1/3 of college students meet the criteria for being diagnosed with alcohol abuse
- 80% of college students feel overwhelmed and more than half of those felt things were “hopeless”
And then there is campus violence, sexual assaults, sleep deprivation, addiction, depression, romantic relationships, discrimination of all types, and so many other conditions and influences that students confront and that impact their grades and chances of success. Campus health centers do not have enough resources and cannot keep up with the demand for mental health services.
Anxiety.org is greatly concerned with mental health issues on college campuses everywhere. That is why we have worked closely with top university and institutional researchers and leading clinicians to curate helpful and educational resources specifically for this group of young adults.
Where To Get Help
Do you feel overwhelmed or get easily annoyed or agitated? Trouble sleeping? Thoughts of suicide? Worried about tests or missing home? These are just a very few of the symptoms or clues that you may have anxiety or a related mental health or mood disorder. There should be no stigma associated with your feeling; anxiety is the most common health issue for college students. Whether it’s at school or off-premises, get the help and support you need; go talk to someone.
Find Help On Campus:
- Most schools will have a student health center that likely will also offer [free] counseling services
- If the school has a psychology or behavioral sciences department, inquire about counseling services from graduate students
- If the university has a medical school or affiliated hospital, investigate if the psychiatric department has a clinic
- Visit the school’s chaplain or an on-campus spiritual leader
- Talk to a friend, professor, or resident adviser – and maybe they can accompany you to a visit with a professional therapist
- If the school health center doesn’t have the appropriate services, find a local psychologist, psychiatrist, or social worker with a specialty in anxiety-related disorders – even your family physician may be able to help with a referral
- If you’re away from home, be open and straight-forward with your parents so that they can offer support (especially if there are insurance coverage and payment issues)
- Support groups can be very helpful – and you can probably find one hosted by a hospital, community center, counseling center, or religious group
Anxiety disorders is at the top of the list of mental health challenges on college campuses. Many of the student statistics are worrisome. Consider that:
- 80% sometimes or frequently experience daily stress (AP)
- 25% have a diagnosable mental illness (NAMI)
- 45% of female students and 36% of men said that they felt so depressed they couldn’t function (ACHA)
- 40% of students who need help, don’t seek it out (NAMI)
- The number of students with a serious mental illness seeking counseling has doubled in the past decade (ACCA)
There may be a high level of co-morbidity with anxiety disorders. Learn more about the following disorders, which often affect college students, too:
Carla Nasca, Ph.D., is a post-doctoral fellow of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in the laboratory of Neuroendocrinology at the Rockefeller University, New York. Dr. Nasca received her B.A. in Molecular Biology and her M.S. in Electrophysiology from the University of Palermo in Italy. She earned her Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Pharmacology from the University Sapienza in Rome, Italy, before moving to The Rockefeller University under the mentorship of Dr. Bruce McEwen.