“Depression, anxiety, & suicidal thoughts are on the rise among college students”
An important survey of over 9,000 high-achieving college and university students across the US, was recently undertaken by NSCS (The National Society of Collegiate Scholars) and Active Minds. This involved highlighting these students’ unique needs, as well as what their educational institutes can do to support their mental well-being when they are on campus.
From all the students who took part in the survey, the NCHA stated that a massive: “91%, all of whom maintain grade point averages of 3.4+, felt overwhelmed by all they had to do in the last year – higher than the national average at 87%, according to the NCHA. Despite achieving a high grade point average, two out of three respondents experienced a need for mental health services in the last year”. This is an alarmingly high percentage.
A Positive Outlook Toward Mental Health Services
Aside from trying to cope with their substantial challenges, the students who are high achievers: “have positive attitudes about mental health services, and are likely to seek help. In fact, 73% of respondents have sought help from someone in the last 12 months” . This is very optimistic news in regard to the younger generation seeking help for their mental health issues, yet there are still other obstacles.
Unfortunately, stigma is still around: 46% of respondents believe that most people think less of a person who has received mental health treatment; and more than 50% reported that either they do not have enough time or financial resources or that they prefer to deal with issues on their own”.
When it comes to their degree of feeling comfortable about discussing their mental health issues, after their preference of close friends and the campus counseling center, the respondents stated that they preferred getting help from a professor or academic advisor. Regrettably, though, over 66% of the students who took part in the survey, said that do not feel at ease having these discussions.
Advice for Academic Advisors, Faculty & College/University Administrations
One key suggestion, is to: Validate, Appreciate, and Refer. Laura Horne, Active Minds’ Chief Program Officer, noted: “Faculty are not experts and do not need to be. They can help a struggling student just by being there for them”. Horne, advises faculty to offer help via the website,
V-A-R, and recommends that educational facilities always have a short reference sheet with contact information for various resources, including the campus counseling center, at hand.
Normalizing Students’ Need for Help
The CEO and Founder of NSCS, Stephen Loflin, remarked that: “the number one thing students report valuing most in a professor is approachability. It is important that faculty gets a clear message through to students, underlining the fact that mental health issues among the general population is commonplace, and that this is particularly so with students just like them.