Being in college can make you feel many emotions. The feeling of adulthood, being independent, and being ambitious are some things that come to mind. With that said, it’s also a time for mental health issues to develop, or worsen. Here are the top mental health issues facing college students.
College is a time to be anxious. From worrying about your grades to trying to get enough money to live another day, it can be too much at times. Usually, it’s much more than what your body should experience naturally. It manifests itself in many ways. In extreme cases, it can feel like you’re having a heart attack. However, mild symptoms like feeling irritable and having trouble concentrating can also be symptoms of anxiety.
Genetics and your life situation can contribute to anxiety. If a student’s family has a history of anxiety and they have taken on more than they can handle, their anxiety may be worse. Not to mention, anxiety can come in many forms. Some students may have some social anxiety, for example. This can apply when they move into a new dorm, or when they have to make a big speech.
Every student is going to have an off day. Depression is one a student feels sad and hopeless for weeks on end. In 2018, on ACHA survey revealed that 40 percent of students experience depression at least once. With the world it is now, and with distance learning keeping students isolated, depression can be even worse. Depression is more than just feeling sad, too. A student who loses interest in activities or seems irritable could be depressed.
In extreme cases, depression could lead to suicidal behavior. As many as 20 percent of students have had some thoughts of suicide. If left untreated, it could lead to self-harm or death
College is a time of experimenting with odd drugs, or binge drinking. For some students, it can be just a phase. However, other students may develop an addiction, which can haunt them for a good while.
In 2019, 35 percent of students were binge drinking, and that’s the people who would admit it! Over 1,500 people also died due to alcohol. If a student is of age and is drinking responsibly, that’s one thing. However, some will end up wasting their money just to get their next fix. They may get into fights or participate in risky behavior like stealing or committing other crimes. Some students can be high-functioning alcoholics, but there are always some signs. Their personalities may change, or they may have an odd smell on them.
With drug abuse, it’s important not to shame the person, but hope they seek addiction counseling.
4. Sleep Issues
A Harvard study found that only 11 percent of students slept well. From hectic schedules to loud roommates to the all-nighter being romanticized, there’s plenty of blame to go around. The average person needs 7-9 hours of sleep, and many cannot catch up on sleep during the weekend. Students need to manage time properly and have some time to unwind to start the day fresh. If sleep deprived, it can worsen other mental health issues, and make it hard to focus and concentrate.
5. Eating Disorders
College students are known to gain some weight due to their odd eating habits. For example, the freshman 15, where a student gains 15 pounds their first year, can happen. Because of this, some students resort to eating disorders. As much as 20 percent of female and 10 percent of male students may have some kind of eating disorder. From eating very little, or anorexia, to binging and purging the food, or bulimia, it can have serious effects on one’s body and self-image.
Seeking Help is Important
Another fact? Many students do not get the help they need. This is because they may feel shame in doing so, or they may not know where to turn to.
In-person counseling is available on campus, but many of those counselors may be overworked, and in a pandemic, there may be few options available for remote counseling.
Online counseling is one way a student can get the help they need.
It involves talking to a therapist or counselor remotely, and it can be done in the middle of writing an essay. It originated in college, and it has seen mainstream appeal as of late.
For more information on online counseling and its potential benefits, please click the link below.