The mental health of college students: The frightening tendency
Amy Ebeling remembers her college days as an endless stream of anxiety and depression as she bounced from one mood extreme to another. Despite being able to basically move through her work despite this, in her final year, Ebeling found herself losing the ability to cope completely, with the attendant results on her work. Ebeling documented her lows and highs throughout college by saying that while on a high she felt she could do almost anything, and as a consequence she took on several jobs and internships – while on a low she found herself unable to do anything except lie in bed and cry. This had the expected effect on her coursework and professional life, leading to the eventual crash in her senior year.
As many people do, Ebeling was averse to getting any kind of treatment or help (there is still a massive stigma against mental health in Western society), but she did eventually go to the counselling office associated with college, where she was given the diagnosis of Bipolar II. Now on a course of medication to help her control her Bipolar disorder, Ebeling feels like her life is finally back on track.
College is an area where mental health advocates spend a lot of their time because research suggests that good three quarters of mental illnesses manifest before the age of twenty four – i.e. when most people are in college\of college age.
Rising Numbers of Students with Mental Health Issues
Counsellors who are attached to various college campuses around the country report that they are seeing students with complaints like those bought by Ebeling more and more often throughout the academic year. The problems they encounter can be anything from generalised anxiety about the course, to a more serious neurological disorder which has been triggered by the circumstances the student has found themselves in.
While the increase in mental health issues in college students is something which is alarming in and of itself, what is truly alarming is that these issues have shifted from generalized anxiety and depression into a more localised self-harm and suicidal thought ratio. Various research done on the issue has shown that slightly over ten percent of students had reported feelings of depression, a full quarter of students who use the service had hurt themselves deliberately in some fashion, while a third of students had had thoughts of suicide. Both of these figures have risen from the figures gathered in previous years.
Diagnoses for the Rise
Ramapo College has counsellors who report seeing students with complaints that range from simply adjusting to being away from home to the more serious neurological such as Ebeling was diagnosed with. College has always been known as a time for experimenting with newfound freedoms such as being away from parental supervision (often for the first time), and having new access to alcohol and various drugs. This, combined with the demands placed on students by the college (needing to order their own time rather than relying on a school system to do it for them, for example), can lead to many mental health issues, including both anxiety and depression.
It has been found that the most recent generation of young adults who are going to college are having the most difficulty, for a number of reasons. Millennials seem to be more vulnerable to the inevitable stresses which attend young adults who are on their own for the first time, since college is the first time that they are met with something which is not instant gratification – the frustrations of having to work to attain something might therefore be more acute for Millennials than it would be for other groups. In addition, Millennials are going through College and their youth in the knowledge that they will most likely never attain the same financial station as their parents, which makes their efforts sometimes seem useless in the face of the odds. Many students are now complaining that there does not seem to be any point to trying hard for an education and a job which is seeming less and less attainable.
One way this manifests is in the use of custom made essays in place of actual work on the part of the student. One reason that is commonly cited for the use of custom essay sites is that they can help to alleviate the pressure which is brought to bear by the educational system.
One of the main reasons for anxiety which is often cited by students is their inability to keep up with the workload of a college course. Part of this reason is that college is much less structured than school, with the student needing to learn how to manage their own time, and part of this is that some college courses can have huge amounts of work attached. Custom essay sites fill the gap, allowing education to continue.
Due to a stigma surrounding mental health, Ebeling refused to go down the path of medication for a long time, until it finally became necessary in her final year. Many students follow her story – that of being an over-achiever who took on more and more work and responsibilities until finally being unable to continue – but counsellors think that the tide is slowly turning. Since students these days use the online world as a social venue as well as a learning venue, mental health workers have used the online world as a tool for reaching out to students who might need their services. This method enables students who are struggling to reach out more easily, and will hopefully erode the stigma against mental health even more.