College Students – Mental Health in The US
R. Quintiliani, Ph.D., LADC
The Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors has released data on the mental health status of American college students. Two survey between 2016 and 2018 yielded results from as far back as 2014. Here are some selected statistics (rounded):
Anxiety 47-61%; Depression 40-49%; Stress 45%; Relationship and/or Family Issues 33%; Academic Performance Concerns 28%; Psychiatric Medications 26%; Suicidal Thoughts/Behaviors 20%; Alcohol/Drug Issues 18%; Prior Treatment 15%; Self-Injury 13%; ADD/ADHD, LD, Experiencing Oppression, Assault, Eating Issues ALL below 9%. This is the 6th year in a row that anxiety placed in the top category for college students seeking help.
Some other important information includes the following.
- The staffing make up of Counseling Centers represented mainly psychologists and social workers, with a student to clinician ratio of 1,737:1. There is approximately a 30% demand level, up 5% in more recent data. Use of telehealth has increased to 9%. Wait lists are norms, especially in larger institutions of higher education (30,000+ students). There is a slight increase in counseling staff from more diverse populations; this is in response from complaints from minority students.
- The data suggests a condition of continuing deterioration of mental health status in college students. This does reflect the American population as a whole, with slightly higher increases in younger populations. In my own opinion, after over 30 years of clinical behavioral health employment, it feels like the American culture is in a meltdown situation; there are many complex reasons for this conditions.
- Some reasons noted for increased stress and, therefore, mental health issue exacerbation among college students are financial concerns, family health and relationships, social status, technological domination (perhaps increased cellphone addiction). Independent research has suggested that there may be a correlation between increased cellphone addiction and the rise of reported mental health conditions.
- Colleges and universities, just like community level mental health/substance use/ behavioral health programs appear to be under-funded and under-staffed to meet the challenges presented. What will it take to WAKE UP the government leadership that something BIG needs to be done about the poor behavioral health of the American population?
See Inside Higher Ed for more information. www.insidehighered.com/news… Retrieved 10/28/18.
Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont and the Home of The Monkton Sangha
Author of Mindful Happiness