“Overwhelming anxiety” On Campus

The online publication Inside Higher Ed has a story about students demanding better access to mental health services. In response, colleges and universities are creating 24-hour hotlines and embedding counselors in residence halls.

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At Pennsylvania State University, where demand for counseling increased 32 percent in the past five years, students took matters into their own hands. The Class of 2016 raised about $400,000 to create an endowment for the university’s Center for Counseling and Psychological Services.

Read the full story here.

IHE‘s snapshot of the challenges:

The mental and emotional health of students has been of increasing concern to colleges in recent years, even as many institutions struggle to find the resources to better address those concerns. More than half of college students say they have experienced “overwhelming anxiety” in the last year, according to the American College Health Association, and 32 percent say they have felt so depressed “that it was difficult to function.”

Nearly 10 percent incoming freshmen who responded to last year’s American Freshman survey reported that they “frequently felt depressed.” It was the highest percentage of students reporting feeling that level of depression since 1988, and 3.4 percentage points higher than in 2009, when the survey found the rate of frequently depressed freshmen to be at its lowest.

The story notes the work of The Jed Foundation, which created a national project called  the Campus Program to help colleges and universities promote emotional and mental well-being. More than one hundred are participating, including Cornell University and SUNY Cortland.