The College Mental Health Crisis
More than 75 percent of all mental health conditions begin before the age of 24, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which is why college is such a critical time.
College counselors are seeing a record number of students who are dealing with a variety of mental health problems, from depression and anxiety, to more serious psychiatric disorders. The Center for Collegiate Mental Health found the number of students visiting counseling centers increased by about 30% on average, while enrollment grew by less than 6% in a 2015 report. The report also found that these students are increasingly likely to have attempted suicide or engaged in self injurious behaviors.
In spring 2017, an American College Health Association survey of over 60,000 students at 92 schools found nearly 40% of college students felt so depressed in the prior year that it was difficult for them to function, and 61% of students said they had “felt overwhelming anxiety” in the same time period.
While many colleges have allocated more resources to counseling centers to meet this increasing demand since 2010, the Center's 2016 report found long-term treatment services, including recurring appointments and specialized counseling, decreased on average during that time period. Students are increasingly being referred to mental health specialists in the community leaving them to navigate all the barriers to care.