18 Alarming College Student Mental Health Statistics
If you’re heading off to college this year (or you have grown up kids on campus), this is an exciting time full of opportunity and promise. But as we can see from the college student mental health statistics, it’s also a time of great challenge. This four-year period of studying and having fun comes with caveats.
When faced with the challenges of studying, managing own money, and balancing academia with part-time work and social life, maintaining mental wellbeing can be a real challenge, according to the college students mental health stats. College students have full autonomy (in most cases, for the first time) over their physical and mental health.
As such, it behooves all new college students to familiarize themselves with the college depression stats and other key figures pertaining to the mental health of young people taking their first steps toward the rest of their adult lives. When they’re fully aware of the mental health college students statistics and the extent to which college life can impinge on their psychological well being, they can take steps to prepare and protect themselves from stress, depression, and anxiety.
Let’s take a look at some important college student mental health statistics for 2019 and beyond.
Top Facts and Stats
If you’re on campus or arriving soon, you’ll want to take every step to safeguard your mental health. To do this, it’s important to be aware of the college student mental health facts. These fascinating but sobering facts paint an overall picture of the state of depression, stress, and anxiety statistics in college students:
- Anxiety is the number one concern amongst college students and is experienced by 41.6% of all students.
- Depression rates in college students are almost as high, with 36.4% experiencing depression during their studies.
- Half of all students rate their mental health as below average to poor.
- 80% of students feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities
- 50% of students feel their academic success suffers as a result of anxiety
- 30% of college students feel that stress affects their academic performance
- Suicide is the third highest cause of death among college students.
College Student Anxiety Statistics
Anxiety is the most commonly experienced mental health issue among college students, so perhaps anxiety in college students statistics is a good place to start. While a certain amount of anxiety at this transitional and important time is inevitable, and some might even say natural, over time, anxiety issues can occur with greater frequency.
It can become chronic anxiety and have a range of ill effects on students’ wellbeing, academic progress, and relationships with family, partners, and peers. Anxiety is a broad mental health issue encompassing General Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Social Anxiety Disorder.
1. 80% of college students feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities, college students mental health stats report.
Arguably, going to college is a deep end experience. Many undergraduates have fun in college initially, but unless they have been given the right infrastructure of coping mechanisms and strategies, they can quickly become overwhelmed.
For most college students, this is the first time they’ve had complete autonomy over their own time, their first experience paying bills and managing their own money, and many will experience their first serious relationship in college. What’s more, a lot of students will have to balance their studies with part-time work.
In light of all this, it’s little wonder that the majority of students feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of their responsibilities.
2. Over 40% of college students report anxiety as their greatest concern.
Almost half of the students (41.6%) report that their biggest mental health concerns relate to anxiety. Nonetheless, this troubling figure may not fully demonstrate how many college students have anxiety. This is because an alarming 40% of them fail to seek help for their anxiety.
3. 19.7% of students cite anxiety as having the biggest impact on their academic success.
Anxiety doesn’t just severely impact students’ quality of life and potentially impede their social interactions; it can also prevent them from achieving their full academic potential. This, in turn, can lead to feelings of self-admonition that can further exacerbate stress and anxiety.
4. In 2019, 23% of college students were diagnosed or treated for anxiety by a mental health professional.
Almost a quarter of all college students in 2019 have been diagnosed with anxiety by a mental health professional and are undergoing treatment. This may come in the form of cognitive therapies or the administration of psychotropic medications (which are taken by nearly 25% of students). Again, given that 40% of mental health issues go unreported, this may be a drop in the ocean compared to the real college student mental health facts.
5. Research shows that increased reliance on electronic devices may exacerbate anxiety statistics for college students.
Not so long time ago, people dealt with anxiety by going outside or spending time with friends and family to gain some greater sense of perspective and put their feelings of being anxious and overwhelmed in a proper context. However, as digitally native students become increasingly reliant on smartphone technology to engage with the world around them, this may actually exacerbate their existing anxiety issues, according to research by the NCBI.
6. 13% of college students have been diagnosed with a mental health problem linked to anxiety.
Anxiety is linked to a range of other mental health issues, including Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, eating disorders, substance abuse, and depression. Over 10% of college students are diagnosed with a more serious condition as a direct result of anxiety.
College Student Depression Statistics
Usually, wherever there is anxiety, there is also depression. Many college students experience depression at some point or another as the result of adverse circumstances, disappointing grades, or troubles in their relationship. However, the frequently stressful and anxiety-ridden life of most college students in 2019 is increasingly conducive to chronic depression, which may account for some of these sobering depression in college students stats.
7. 44% of American college students report having symptoms of depression.
Almost half of all US students report one or more symptoms of depression throughout their academic careers. This is perhaps one of the most sobering college student mental health statistics in the USA.
Symptoms of depression include difficulty sleeping (or difficulty doing anything else), loss of appetite or comfort eating, lack of enjoyment in favorite activities, low mood or mood swings, and often leads to sleeping problems in college students.
8. Over a third of college students cite depression as their biggest concern.
Depression is close behind anxiety in terms of how gravely it concerns many US college students, with 36.4% citing it as their biggest concern and barrier to academic achievement.
9. 75% of students with depression do not seek help for their mental health issues.
Perhaps one of the most troubling college student mental health stats is that the overwhelming majority of students dealing with depression do not seek help from a mental health professional. This can lead them to dangerous alternative coping mechanisms such as self-medicating with alcohol.
10. 13% of students say that they have felt depressed in the last three months.
Depression is not just a common problem for US college students, it’s also a worrying problem, with over 10% of students stating that they have felt depression at least once within the past quarter of a year, according to college student mental health stats.
College Stress Facts
Stress is a natural consequence of endeavor. Whenever we try something new for the first time or venture outside of our comfort zone, we are likely to experience stress. However, while a little stress can bring out the best in us, chronic stress can lead to a wide range of physical and mental health issues, as you can see by the following college stress statistics.
11. 30% of college students say that stress has negatively affected their performance.
College can be a lot of fun. But it can also be extremely stressful, especially when students are balancing their time, finances, and social obligations for the first time ever along with their studies. Thus, one of the most telling facts about stress in college students is that almost a third cite it as a major negative influence on their studies.
12. Almost 20% of US students said they had difficulties with sleeping as a result of stress.
Sleep is integral for mental and overall health. Thus, the fact that a fifth of students find that their stress prevents them from sleep is one of the most potentially worrying college stress facts. When the body doesn’t get enough sleep, it can actually exacerbate stress levels, thereby further increasing sleeplessness in college students. It can also result in a compromised immune system, mood swings, trouble getting over illnesses, weight gain, and irritability.
13. 45% of students who seek counseling do so as a result of stress.
Student counselors can be an invaluable resource for stressed students, and 45% of students who see them do so as a means to better deal with their stress. Counselors can respond with teaching and encouraging college student stress management strategies.
While this is one of the most potentially encouraging stress in college students statistics, it raises concerns about college campuses where support is inadequate and students let their stress issues go unreported.
14. 80% of college students feel stress on a daily basis.
This is the very definition of chronic stress and can coax the brain into a perpetual state of “fight or flight.” When this happens, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues are a common consequence.
How Mental Health Affects College Students?
Mental health issues such as chronic stress, anxiety, and depression can affect students in a variety of ways, which can have a profound impact on their academic performance and overall quality of life.
15. There are over 1,000 suicides on college campuses every year.
This sobering college student mental health statistics highlights the importance of college students knowing where to get help and support when experiencing mental health issues, thus knowing that there’s always a better way.
16. 25% of women will binge and purge to manage their weight.
Stress, anxiety, and depression can often result in self-identity issues, which, in turn, may lead to eating disorders like bulimia nervosa. This is why a quarter of women in college say that they binge and purge as a means of managing their weight.
17. 24.5% of college students are currently taking psychotropic medications.
Almost a quarter of college students are currently taking medications to manage the symptoms of mental health issues. While this at least means that students are seeking support and treatment, prevention is always the best cure.
18. One in ten college students has a plan in place for suicide.
Finally, perhaps the most disturbing college student mental health statistics is that 10% of college students have a plan in place to take their own lives. However, with the right network of support, they can be discouraged from this terrible solution.
These college mental health stats make for sobering but important reading. Furthermore, because so many instances of poor mental health go unreported, we may never know the true percentage of college students with mental health issues. This is why it’s so important for students to bear these college mental health stats in mind.
While people often assume that they won’t be affected by mental health problems, it’s essential to have coping mechanisms and strategies in place. Don’t become just another of these college student mental health statistics.