The lives of our future leaders are at stake!
College is a place we come to enhance our education, to learn more about ourselves, and to choose our career paths. None of that happens without stress. While most students want on-campus housing to gain the experience of living on our own, dorm life can be a stressful and intimidating environment. Yes, it’s fun and exciting to leave family, friends, and arrive at college knowing only a handful of people, but it also subjects us to a normal life process known as “challenge stress” or “eustress.” Unlike distress stress that can be debilitating, eustress pushes students beyond our fears to reach our goals, encouraging us to bring new ideas to our ever-growing world, like how to get along with a roommate we don’t like.
On the other hand for students who are unprepared to meet these challenges that quickly arrive with growing up and going to college; these challenges can be draining. “According to a 2013 American Psychological Association survey, about one-third of college students have experienced depression within the past year and had difficulty functioning because of it” (Pedrelli, at et. 2015). Mental illness has been the topic of interest for years. Especially now, that hundreds of thousands of students are being affected worldwide. Depression and anxiety are one of the most common mental illnesses you can see on campus. Among the mental disorders, students have reported bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, substance abuse or addiction, and “other addictions.” The main reason for the numbers to not be decreasing is lack of advertising and their methods for treatment.
Correspondingly, Colleges fail in helping because they rarely promote their services. How can you expect students to ask for help when universities show their services only at the beginning of orientation. Furthermore, the way they go about trying to educate and help students is all wrong.As stated by Medical Care Research and Review, “Perceived public stigma was considerably higher than personal stigma.” Nobody wants to seem different and feel judged so making these services seem not welcoming will cause most students to hesitate to go. Additionally, these services single out students in a way because the only people interested are those who need help. What health services can do is set up incentives such as food and gear for going to meetings. This way more students will want to come, and others won’t feel singled out when approaching for information.
The traditional colleges offer mental health counseling but only say things about counseling during the orientation after that nothing else. Universities fail to tell students how they can cope with stress and don’t explain how you can distinguish between Eustress and Distress. Instead, they warn you about substances you may encounter and give numbers for services to call but the problem is many Students are nervous and don’t want to feel weird about talking to another person about problems. As a student who has attended both a traditional and community college, I can say there is a huge difference. My community college failed even to promote these services. In a recent study, the American College Counseling Association Community College Task Force (2010) found that 95% of community colleges have no contracted on-site psychiatry services, compared to 58.8% of traditional universities (Gallagher, 2012). Which proves my point 95% of community colleges don’t offer any psychiatry services, this is outrageous when we know there is a problem. Even so, Traditional universities only provide 58.8 %; for the tens of thousands paid every semester this is plain sad. These undergraduates deserve to have what they paid for.
Next, Universities need to work on their approach to educating these young adults. Recent studies found mindfulness to help combat stress and strengthen emotional health. While mindfulness can be difficult to achieve at first, it is not impossible with practice. This alternative coping method is relatively new, and results vary from person to person. “The basic premise underlying mindfulness practices is that experiencing the present moment nonjudgmentally and openly can effectively counter the effects of stressors, it can help students remain focused and calm” (Hofmann et al. 2010). The way mindfulness can help is for students who used negative coping methods such as self-harm, substance and alcohol abuse, or even have bad reoccurring thoughts, it can allow you to change your personality and curve your impulses. “This suggests that for individuals who observe in a non-reactive manner, observation may relate to lower levels of substance use.” This doesn’t have to be for those who are seeking help which is great because no one is singled out. Second, it allows for students to be able to learn these skill and use it virtually anytime.
Lastly, we cannot afford not to have this health program on campus because it is dire not only for the university itself but undergrads. Over the years accumulation of stories surface of college students, committing suicide, overdosing, getting alcohol poisoning, and some even hurting others. For the universities sake as well as its students; things need to change to help reduce these tragedies. Not only can this help its undergrads but save the university from financial lawsuits and reputation. A more recently written article by
Eugene V. Beresin, M.D., who is Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School states more than 1,000 suicides take place on college campuses each year which turns out to be about two to three per day. Dr. Beresin writes in his research about how schools should increase their access to mental health counseling as well as having foster community counseling and support forum to try to reduce the stigma that occurs with receiving help. With students suffering and losing their lives over this condition, they can’t control. I don’t understand why no one wants to help. Statistics show that “80-90% of college students who die by suicide were not receiving help from college counseling centers” (Beresin, 2017). The excuses and claims made by critics are put to rest after this cold hard fact. It is as simple as taking the initiative.
To summarize as a whole, we need to speak up to improve our universities goal of helping its students. The rising increase from year’s statistics shows that students with mental illness are dangerously increasing. Throughout the years these students have suffered and deserve to be help. We pay thousands of dollars to go to a university in the hope of bettering our education, so it is their responsibility of holding us in a safe environment to do so. That being said, the education system should do everything in their power to help create a stable, safe environment for all students. By improving their mental health services on campus, they will give students an opportunity to achieve their dreams for the future. These undergrads have plenty of weight on their shoulders, dealing with this disease, let’s help them stay on track.
Beresin, E. (2017, February 27). The College Mental Health Crisis: Focus on Suicide.
Bowen, S. (03/2014). Relationship between dispositional mindfulness and substance use: Findings from a clinical sampleElsevier.10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.10.026
Hofmann, S. G., Sawyer, A. T., Witt, A. A., & Oh, D. (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. Journal Of Consulting And Clinical Psychology, 78(2), 169-183. doi:10.1037/a0018555
Katz, D. (2013). Community college student mental health: A comparative analysis (Order No. 3572817). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1434835907).
Moise, G. (2014). Good stress or bad stress? relationships between stress appraisals and strains in health care practitioners (Order No. 3630437). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1563382680).
Pedrelli, P., Nyer, M., Yeung, A., Zulauf, C., & Wilens, T. (2015). College Students: Mental Health Problems and Treatment Considerations. Academic Psychiatry : The Journal of the American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training and the Association for Academic Psychiatry, 39(5), 503–511.