Mental Health Issues in College Students: What Parents Should Know

11 Jan by HPA/LiveWell Clinical Psychology

Today, one in four college students suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder, and over 40% of those students do not seek help. At HPA/LiveWell in Albany, New York, we understand that mental health issues in college students is prevalent, and that mental health services can make all the difference.

Top Mental Health Issues in College Students

  • Depression – statistics show depression is the top mental health issue in college, with over 35% of students being affected. Depression comes in many forms, and if left untreated can lead to increased symptoms and in some cases suicide.
  • Anxiety – most college students feel some level of anxiety and stress throughout their time at school. Still, many college students suffer from anxiety disorder, which can greatly impact their daily functioning and overall wellbeing. There are many different kinds of anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Eating Disorders – millions of college students develop eating disorders at some point throughout college. Because eating disorders have become so prevalent, countless students think it is “normal” and do not recognize the severity of the problem. This is why so many do not seek the support and/or eating disorder treatment needed to address the eating disorder.
  • Addictions – alcohol and drug use has become commonplace at colleges and universities in this country, so it is not hard to understand why one of the top mental health issues in college students is addiction. Not only can drug and alcohol use exacerbate existing mental health conditions, but they can also contribute to their development.

Mental Health Resources in College

Mental illness can obviously make college more challenging. But there are resources available to help students manage their mental health, and ultimately increase the chances of educational success. Research and inquire about the services offered at your child’s school to know what is available. While each college and university is different, most have some form of on-campus help.

  • Counseling centers – offer individual and group counseling, medication management, and sometimes even urgent care services.
  • Disability centers – disability centers work hand-in-hand with counseling centers to provide various (and often complementary) services such as screenings and assessments for psychiatric disability, academic coaching/mentoring, and approval of accommodations.
  • NAMI clubs – The National Association for Mental Illness (NAMI) maintains clubs at many college campuses around the country. These clubs provide students with mental illness a place to meet, in addition to advocating and raising awareness on mental health issues.
  • Outside Mental Health Services – when the resources provided by the schools is not enough, we encourage you to seek mental health services from experts such as ours at HPA/LiveWell in Albany, NY.

Talking to Your College Student About Mental Illness

Whether your child is entering college with an existing diagnosis, or the stress of college has lead to mental illness, communicating with your college student about mental health is essential. Conversations around mental illness can help your child feel more equipped in managing difficult times, prepare for the unexpected, and know where to go to seek help. Some important things to discuss may include:

Please contact HPA/LiveWell in Albany, NY to find out more about mental health issues in college student and how you can help.