According to the American Psychological Association, mental illness among college students is on the rise. What was already the beginning of a epidemic is now growing exponentially. The most common complaint among those who visited college counseling centers was anxiety, followed closely by depression. Relationships, psychotropic use, and severe mental illness were among the others listed. Counselors, psychiatrists, and therapists need to deal with this problem on the most basic levels.
Although it is possible that new illness develops when these students arrive at college, it is unlikely. Most students who present signs of mental illness were symptomatic long before they ever attended college. Fortunately, there are quite a few resources available for college students suffering from mental health concerns.
Call 800-598-5053 toll free anytime for help finding mental health care and treatment.
Mental Illnesses in College Students
Before seeking resources it is important to understand what mental illnesses are affecting college students. These illnesses vary in severity and many resources are illness specific.
- Anxiety – feeling uneasy, paranoid, or having panic attacks,
- Addiction – becoming dependent on and abusing substances or adverse behaviors,
- Bipolar disorder – characterized by manic highs and depressive lows,
- Depression – pervasive sadness, dysphoria, and depressed mood,
- Eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating,
- Identity confusion – struggling with identity beyond normal self discovery,
- Self harm – cutting or physically harming yourself, and
- Suicide – although not a disorder by itself, many college students go undiagnosed and end up either suicidal or committing suicide.
Each of these mental illnesses is devastating to young college students. They can ruin concentration, destroy grades, and otherwise put a tremendous amount of stress on an already stressed population. Fortunately, there are resources offer help for students who need it.
Call 800-598-5053 toll free anytime for help finding treatment.
Who to Ask for Help
There are several people and agencies that offer help and advice to students suffering from mental illness. These resources are universal to almost every college campus in the country. A few of these resources are:
- Your dorm’s resident assistant or RA – RAs are often the first people to notice there is an issue. Most RA programs have some sort of primary therapy training to deal with the myriad of problems that come up in college life. Some of that training involves learning about mental illness. RAs are there to offer advice, point out resources, and generally help those who need it. An RA typically knows the student’s habits and both healthy and unhealthy behaviors. They might be able to spot the mental illness before the student seeks help.
- The campus health center – campus health centers are usually well equipped to deal with any mental illness that might arise. Most campus doctors and nurses have access to resources for many of the common mental disorders. Some even have psychologists and therapists on staff. They also usually have access to medications such as antidepressants and anxiety medications.
- Mental health services – almost every county and state has a mental health department. The mental health department often offers low or no cost treatment for basic mental illnesses. They routinely deal with college students in crisis. This makes them an excellent choice for seeking treatment. Some mental health departments also have an inpatient facility for those who need more intensive treatment.
- Peer counseling group – there are groups for just about every mental illness out there. Peer support is an extremely successful therapy tactic when it comes to mental illness. They offer support and a sense of community so that the student does not feel alone.
- The campus administrator – even though administrators do not seem to be the people to turn to in times of crisis, they have access to all of the campus, college, and community resources that are available. Each administrator also has the power to establish new groups if there is a need for them.
Most of these resources are found on every college campus around the world. Knowing where to go when you need help makes dealing with a mental illness just a little bit easier. One in four people have some form of mental illness, you are not alone.
Community Resources Available for College Students
Along with the resources on the college campus there are community services available. These services are available in almost all communities.
- National Institute of Mental Health – This government organization offers information about mental health issues, resources on where to find help and information about clinical trials.
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America – this is an excellent place to find resources regarding anxiety. It is an excellent place for college students to learn about all treatment options for those who suffer from anxiety and depression.
- American College Health Association – this association is focused on providing health resources to college students. They also work to provide community access to physical and mental health programs and resources.
Each of these community and college based resources offers answers, help, and hope for college students who are in need. Having an emerging mental illness is a very frightening thing and knowing where to find help can mean the difference between learning to deal with the illness and letting the illness destroy you. Having a mental illness is not the end of the world. Millions of people deal with illnesses like anxiety and depression every day. If you suspect you or someone you care about has a mental illness, there is help available.