Joining college is one of the most exciting experiences for students who want to make friends and explore the real world. But, surprisingly, it is not all fun, as Boston University researchers have established that there mental health problem among college students seems to be getting worse. According to the researcher, depression and anxiety rates have skyrocketed in college students in the past eight years.
Mental health problems on the rise among college students
Study co-author Sarah Lipson said that going to college is a significant developmental period that coincides with onsets of behavioral health issues. It is important to note that 75% of lifetime behavioral health issues start at around 24 years.
The study evaluated surveyed data from Healthy Minds Network collected at more than 3000 campuses from 350,000 between 2013 and 2021. Notably, this was the first long-term study analyzing variance in treatment and mental health problems prevalence across ethnicity and race. In addition, the studies measured mental health signs, treatment of the student while in college, and flourishing levels.
Over eight years, researchers established that college students’ mental health had steadily deteriorated. Surprisingly from 2013 to last year, there was a 135% surge in cases of depression and a 110% rise in anxiety. According to researchers, the proportion of college students who reported having at least one mental health issue increased from 2013 to 2021.
Non-white students are most impacted.
The most impacted demographic are non-white students, with the figures worse among Alaskan Native/ American Indian students. Flourishing among students dropped over that period with a significant increase in anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and other issues. Surprisingly there was an increase in eating disorders and non-suicidal self-injury among white students.
However, what was surprising is that there are student groups that are unlikely to go for mental health treatment compared to a decade ago. The demographic that is unlikely to seek medical attention is students of color. The problem could result from disparity in the number of healthcare providers, with the majority being white and few providers of color.