College Students and Mental Health: The Growing Cry for Help
The stress of college and adulthood can be a lot to handle.
It’s an incredibly nerve-wracking day when we send our children to college. It’s their first big step into adulthood and creating a path for themselves. Sometimes, we forget just how overwhelming the college experience can be. In addition to being independent, managing classes, and oftentimes a job, students can understandably forget the importance of their mental health and sanity.
Mental health needs on campus are real and serious. And unfortunately, they’re also growing.
The statistics can be shocking. Nearly 31 percent of students who sought out counseling in the 2013-2014 academic year said that they seriously considered suicide at some point in their lives. Just five years before that number was at 25 percent, according to the most recent annual report by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State. That’s not the only increase the report found: almost 24 percent of college students who sought counseling in 2013-2014 had self-injured themselves at some point in their lifetime, such as engaging in cutting, hitting, burning, and hair pulling, without the intention of killing themselves. That number was at 21% just five years prior.
The statistics tell a heart-breaking story about our young adults in college.
“When you put those two together, what they’re really reflecting is students are more willing than ever to articulate being overwhelmed and to take that out on themselves, either through self-injury or through talking about the possibility of suicide or thinking actively about that and that plays out in all areas of university life,” said Ben Locke, associate director of clinical services for Penn State’s Center for Counseling and Psychological Services.