By Corbin Johnson
Many say that college is a great time to find out what is your lifelong dream, but that has sometimes been an understatement. When young adults enter college, it can be hard to adjust due to new experiences, having new responsibilities, and growing pains. It is also nerve-wrecking because this is the first-time students will have to navigate their own physical and mental health without the help of their parents. As a result, students can develop mental illnesses or other physical illnesses as well.
College is a key developmental time for young adults, experts said. It is the beginning of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia arising. Roughly 65-percent of mental health issues begin by age 20 and take a huge toll on students, according to data collected in a study by researchers at Boston University.
“Ever since the pandemic has begun, we have had a ton of new patients who have been dealing with these issues every day,” said Tyana Robertson, a developmental pediatrician who spoke at the Mental Health Fair on Sept. 21 in the University Center.
“The numbers have increased since the pandemic due to many people terrified of catching the virus,” she said. “We hope to lower the numbers by giving the resources and tools that they need to get better,” she added.
The mental health of college students has been on a big decline since the beginning of 2013. There has been an overall 136-percent increase in depression and a 110-percent increase in anxiety seen in a study done by Jasmine Morigney, a clinical psychology student at Eastern Michigan University. The number of students who have had mental health problems in 2022 has been increasing since 2013, according to Sarah K. Lipson, a Boston University professor.
“Depression and anxiety have led to many suicides across college students,” said Dr. Thomas Maestri, a clinical associate professor at Xavier. “Students who were dealing with peer pressure or issues in their social life were the ones likely to commit suicide,” he said. “We have noticed a 22-percent jump in suicide deaths this year in the country compared to 2013 and hope that we can reduce these numbers as quick as possible,” he added.
More students were not seeking help to resolve their mental issues, experts also found. Students cope by hiding the pain or becoming reclusive. But the prevalence of poor coping responses to mental health issues is outpacing the number of students finding and receiving support. When many schools shifted to remote learning, less students resisted looking for any resources or doctors to help them.
“Many students feel like people won’t understand what they are going through,” said Milad Chedid, a fourth-year pharmacy student. “I’ve had my own share of mental health issues, but I realized that I needed to talk to someone and after doing that it has really helped me be in a great position today,” he said. “I hope everyone takes these issues seriously because it is not something to joke around with, and needs to be dealt with immediately,” he added.