The Freedom and Opportunity of College Put Students at a Mental Health Disadvantage

The freedom and opportunity that going away to college offers correlates with higher rates of depression and anxiety.

Going away to college is a time of change in almost every respect, representing a moment of great freedom and opportunity, but psychologically speaking, this correlates with increased rates of depression and anxiety, says Dr. Victor Schwartz, medical director at The Jed Foundation.


According to Schwartz, alcohol poses a particularly large challenge on campuses: A third of college students report an alcohol binge every two weeks and with that comes increased rates of automobile accidents, physical altercations, and nonconsensual sexual contact.

Two percent of students who drink report having had nonconsensual sexual contact in the context of drinking. Given that there are 20 million college students nationwide, and that 70 percent of them drink, that results in a staggering 300,000 incidents of nonconsensual sexual contact.

To cope with these challenges, Schwartz points out that colleges tend to offer counseling services designed to meet students' specific needs. Information about a college's mental health services are certainly available on its website, and anyone from RAs to deans will be trained to connect students with the help and support they need.

While there is no legal requirement for colleges to provide mental health services, it serves the goal of getting their students across the graduation line — and it's the right thing to do. What's more, these services are typically offered at no additional cost to the student.

Students and their parents would no doubt say they're already paying enough, but Dr. Schwartz explains what challenges these services also present to colleges:

Photo credit: ullstein bild / Contributor
Related Articles

How schizophrenia is linked to common personality type

Both schizophrenics and people with a common personality type share similar brain patterns.

(shutterstock)
Mind & Brain
  • A new study shows that people with a common personality type share brain activity with patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.
  • The study gives insight into how the brain activity associated with mental illnesses relates to brain activity in healthy individuals.
  • This finding not only improves our understanding of how the brain works but may one day be applied to treatments.
Keep reading Show less

Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

Image: Nissim Benvenisty
Surprising Science
  • Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
  • These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
  • The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Keep reading Show less

How exercise helps your gut bacteria

Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

National Institutes of Health
Surprising Science
  • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
  • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
  • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
Keep reading Show less