With the pressures facing most people today, it is essential to take your mental health seriously. This is especially true for college students and young people, whose lack of experience in the real world could lead to major mental health issues resulting from stress, overwork, fatigue, or even the onset of a more serious mental illness. In fact, up to 75 percent of college students with possible mental health issues do not seek help for what ails them.
While this resource is meant to provide college students and young people with quality information on maintaining good mental health and identifying mental health issues, it is not meant to take the place of professional advice from a qualified mental health specialist. Anyone who wishes to learn more keeping tabs on their mental health should consider taking this mental health assessment before diving into the resource.
Mental Health Issues Facing College Students
Below is a list of serious mental health issues known to affect college students and young people:
- Depression: While it might be easy for a busy college student to write their depression off as school-induced stress, depressive tendencies can of course be symptoms of more serious mental health issues. In fact, a 2012 study reported that 44 percent of college students have one or more symptoms of depression. This startling statistic shows that hits depression faced by nearly half of all college students could lead to more complex mental health issues without the proper counseling to help them identify the source of their depression.
- Anxiety: It goes without saying that most college students experience some degree of anxiety. As yo might expect, juggling assignments, exams, and part-time jobs can lead to serious levels of anxiety, which could then escalate into a major mental health issue or disorder. Students who feel like anxiety is getting the better of them should schedule some time to speak with a counsellor or mental health specialist in order to pinpoint the source of anxiety and figure out solutions to overcome it.
- Suicide: The worst possible outcome of an untreated mental illness is suicide. Even for people without a serious mental disorder, the stress of an independent environment can lead to suicidal thoughts. Anyone who has seriously considered suicide should seek professional help immediately. Suicide hotlines staffed by specialists are usually the quickest and most discreet options for people to get the care and attention they need.
- Bipolar Disorder: This is a major mental health disorder often characterized by extreme bouts of depression followed by periods of manic activity. With the stress and workload many college students face, it’s easy to pass off symptoms of bipolar disorder as mood swings. According to WebMD, severe enough mood swings will interfere with a person’s functioningcould be related to an underlying bi-polar disorder. Young people who find that their mood swings are causing difficulties in their personal or academic life should seek counseling from a mental health specialist immediately.
- Eating Disorders: According to the National Eating Disorders Association, approximately 20 percent of women and 10 percent of men in college struggle with an eating disorder. For some, the pressure of losing weight and “looking good” might be enough to trigger the beginning of an eating disorder. For others, the stress of a busy social, academic and work schedule may make it difficult for them to find time to eat properly, which could also lead to a serious eating disorder down the line. While there are several different eating disorders, anorexia and bulimia are two of the most common. Eating disorders are serious and could lead to devastating consequences for a young person’s health without immediate treatment from a mental health specialist.
- Addiction: For individuals of any age, addiction can lead to significant and life threatening health issues without proper treatment. Addiction can be especially devastating for young people, who may turn to drugs, alcohol, or food to deal with general stress or an underlying mental health disorder. Binge drinking is an especially common form of addiction found on American campuses. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, of the 61 percent of surveyed colleges students that drank, 40.5 percent binge drank and 16.3 percent were heavy drinkers. For many who struggle with addiction, often the hardest hurdle for them to overcome is admitting that they have a problem. If you or a young person you know is struggling with addiction, counselling from a mental health specialist or admission to a substance rehabilitation center are two viable treatment options.
- Self-harm: Unlike other mental health issues, the underlying reason behind why young people choose to physically harm themselves still eludes researchers. Moreover, people who do harm themselves tend to do so in private and on areas of the body that may not be visible to others. Some estimate that up to 15 percent of college students have engaged in some form of self-harming behavior. Self-harm is a serious mental health issue that should be monitored by a trained mental health specialist.
- Struggles with Identity: U.S. society has gradually come to accept the many disparate identities found within its borders. That said, in certain areas of the country, there is still a significant amount of intolerance directed towards people who identify themselves in a certain way. While a given identity will not necessarily indicate mental health struggles, the pressures of withstanding a hostile social environment could lead to severe stress and anxiety. Anyone struggling with extreme social pressures due to their lifestyle or identity should immediately seek help from a qualified specialist at their school or workplace.
Links to Each State’s Social and Health Services Site
Each state in the U.S. maintains their own health and social services department. Some states even have departments entirely dedicated to mental health. These resources can be helpful for state residents who struggle with their mental health, or know someone who may need help. Below is a list of links to health and social services departments organized by state.
|professional mental health communityemploys many safeguards to help keep information about your mental health confidential and only shared when coordinating a patient’s care.
While the Affordable Care Act should ensure that all young Americans have access to affordable, high quality health care, there are still many young people today that remain uninsured. Young people who find themselves uninsured, however, should remain vigilant about obtaining mental health care the minute they need it. To help uninsured people find proper mental health treatment, Mental Health America has compiled an extensive list of options that should be kept handy in the event of a mental health crisis.
As the inclusion of mental health treatment becomes the rule and not the exception for health plans across the nation, college students will finally have the resources and support needed to help maintain both their physical and mental well-being while on-campus.
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