College and Mental Health

August 16, 2019

              This weekend many young people will be leaving for college for the first time. This is an exciting and oftentimes anxiety-provoking event in their lives, as they begin to branch out from their parents and adjust to living on their own. Many students will be hopeful and enthusiastic about this experience, but for some this transition comes with significant risks of anxiety and depression.

              Academic stress and pressure to perform can lead to feelings of inadequacy, not to mention the pressure to make friends and fit into a new environment. Those individuals who do not feel prepared for this challenge are more likely to struggle with mental health concerns. Young people are typically still searching for their identity and path in life, and for those who are unsure, the availability of drugs and alcohol can become a major obstacle to success. College students are at risk of turning to substances to mask their feelings of fear, inferiority or loneliness.

              Thankfully, as the stigma around mental health has decreased in our society, students now are more likely to seek help and support than in previous generations. What may be most important in assisting college students through this transition period is to normalize increased anxiety and/or depression symptoms. If students feel they can be open with their feelings and struggles, they will likely be more successful in overcoming mental health issues.


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