Prevalence of Depression, Mental Illnesses Increasing on College Campuses
The prevalence of depression and mental illnesses on college campuses is increasing at an "alarming" rate, USA Today reports. While campus crime and binge drinking are college campus issues that typically receive attention, this new "crisis" could "dwarf" the other problems. According to a survey of counseling centers by the University of Pittsburgh, 85% of colleges have reported an increase over the past five years in the number of students with psychiatric problems. "Mental illness is absolutely going off the charts on college campuses," Hara Marano, who prepared a special report on the subject from the publishers of Psychology Today, said, adding, "College counseling centers used to be the backwaters of the mental health care system. Now they are the front line." The National Institute of Mental Health has identified some of the "common stressors" of college life: financial responsibilities, academic demands, social life changes and sexual identity issues. Experts say other factors include problems with home life, increasing academic competitiveness and the fact that college students are in a prime age -- 18-25 -- for mental health disorders. Robert Gallagher, a psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh, added that many students coming to college already have been diagnosed with a mental disorder. The increasing availability of psychiatric services on colleges campuses also has contributed to the increased depression rate because more students are getting diagnosed and treated (Peterson, USA Today, 5/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.