From College of the Redwoods

Disability News
College Students and Mental Health
Feb 18, 2014 - 12:46:11 PM


A recent article by the American Psychiatric Association addressed mental health issues in college students. It is very revealing. College can be an exciting time; it can also be overwhelming and stressful. Depression, anxiety, substance use, and eating disorders are common mental health issues on college campuses.

According to a 2011 American College Health Association Survey, almost 1/3 of students reported feeling so depressed within the last 12 months that it was difficult to function and almost half felt overwhelming anxiety.

Major depression increases the likelihood of substance abuse, impairs functioning at school, and influences an individual’s subsequent development in negative ways. Depression can also co-occur with other disorders, including physical illnesses and other mental disorders, such as anxiety and eating disorders. It is important to have mental health services available on college campuses for students who need help.

According to the survey, the most commonly identified traumatic or difficult to handle issues were academic, financial, intimate relations, family, and sleep difficulties. Of the approximately 20% of students who had been diagnosed or treated for a mental health/substance use condition in the past year, the most common conditions were depression, anxiety, panic attacks and ADHD. Students reported feeling the following in the past year.

Students Reported Feeling Male Female Total
Felt things were hopeless 38% 49% 45%
Felt overwhelming anxiety 38% 55% 50%
Felt so depressed that it was difficult to function 25% 33% 30%
Felt overwhelming anger 33% 38% 36%
Seriously considered suicide 3% 7% 7%

The survey also found that 62% of students had used alcohol and 14% had used marijuana in the last 30 days.
The source of this data was the 2011 American College Health Association survey (

There are some nationally based programs that have been designed to assist college students dealing with mental health issues. These include:

Active Minds: Student Run Mental Health Organization on Campus:
Active Minds is a campus based student organization working to change the conversation about mental health on college campuses. The organization develops and supports chapters of a student-run mental health awareness, education, and advocacy group on campuses, and works to increase students’ awareness of mental health issues, provide information and resources regarding mental health and mental illness, encourage students to seek help as soon as it is needed, and serve as liaison between students and the mental health community.

Transition Year Initiative
The American Psychiatric Foundation in partnership with the Jed Foundation is seeking to help teens during the critical transition period from high school to college. One in ten children suffers from a mental disorder severe enough to cause some level of impairment. While the time of transition to college can be exciting, it can also be challenging and it can be even more challenging for students coping with mental health issues.

Quotation of the Week
"Experience is a good teacher, but she sends in terrific bills."
(Minna Antrim)


© Copyright by College of the Redwoods