What could be the best of times for a young adult attending college, can become the worst of times. Students excited by the promise of college life can be overwhelmed with stress, depression, financial hardship, and substance abuse.
- The annual "American Freshman" report showed that only about half of current first-year students, 51.9%, rated their emotional health above average or higher, down from 55.3% last year and the lowest since the question was first asked 25 years ago. More than 30% of all college freshman report feeling overwhelmed - a great deal of the time. Thirty-eight percent of college women report feeling frequently overwhelmed. "What it means is that going into college, students are already feeling more stress and feeling more overwhelmed and have lower emotional reserves to deal with that stress," said John H. Pryor, lead author of the report and managing director of UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute
- Depression affects over 19 million adults in the US annually. At colleges nationwide, large percentages of college students are feeling overwhelmed, sad, hopeless and so depressed that they are unable to function. In a recent national college health survey, 10% of college students had been diagnosed with depression. Women, who tend to be more forthcoming (or are less stigmatized) in seeking treatment for depression, recorded a rate of 13%.
- Anxiety disorders affect millions of adults every year, and anxiety levels among college students have been rising since the 1950s. In 2000, 7% of college students reported experiencing anxiety disorders within the previous year. Women are five times as likely to have anxiety disorders.
- Eating disorders affect 5-10 million women and 1 million men, with the highest rates occurring in college-aged women. Advantaged, white women are at the highest risk.
- Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death among the US population, the third leading cause of death for all those aged 15-24, and the second leading cause of death in college populations.
- Individuals who are stressed are more likely to have accidents – including those involving motor vehicles, and, to be more careless with seatbelt use.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 7.8% of men and 12.3% of women ages 18-24 report frequent mental distress – a key indicator for depression and other mental disorders.
- According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) report, Wasting the Best and the Brightest: Substance Abuse at America's Colleges and Universities, 45 percent of college students binge drink and nearly 21 percent abuse prescription or illegal drugs.