Anxiety has now surpassed depression as the most common mental health diagnosis among college students, according to the New York Times.
A recent study of more than 100,000 students by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State found that more than half of students seeking help at campus clinics report anxiety as an issue, and nearly one in six college students has been treated for anxiety in the last year, according to the American College Health Association.
Mental health counselors on campus attribute a number of factors to this rise, namely academic pressure from a much earlier age and compulsive social media interaction. And more interesting, counselors say today’s students don’t have the coping mechanisms necessary to deal with stress that previous generations possessed.
“They can’t tolerate discomfort or having to struggle. A primary symptom is worrying, and they don’t have the ability to soothe themselves,” Dan Jones, director of counseling and psychological services at Appalachian State University in Boone, told the Times.
Jones believes that increased pressures in high school coupled with extreme parental oversight contribute to this lack of coping ability.
But one positive in these rising numbers is that part of this increase is due to the decrease in stigma around mental health issues. Students feel more comfortable acknowledging they need help and will speak to professionals to develop the skills necessary to handle their anxiety issues.
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