Editorial: Mental Health on College Campuses

 Universities are being called to provide adequate treatment for their students, as people 18-24 are most susceptible to mental illnesses. (Tommy Simoncini/Flickr)

Universities are being called to provide adequate treatment for their students, as people 18-24 are most susceptible to mental illnesses. (Tommy Simoncini/Flickr)

Increasing numbers of students at universities call for an adjustment of mental health insurance programs on campuses. Without proper mental health programs at colleges, students are inevitably more prone to mental illness, which impairs physical health and academic performance. Since people ages 18 to 24 are most susceptible to mental illnesses, it is the responsibility of universities to provide adequate treatment.

College students commonly suffer from mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorders and anxiety disorders.. Most of these disorders are triggered by a traumatic event and may induce serious consequences. Social life in college is a prime example of an emotional trigger that can kindle mental disorders, even if the student is unaware. “60.5 percent of students reported feeling lonely - a common indicator of depression - in the past year.” and approximately 35.8 percent of students typically undergo “relationship problems,” making it one of the top three mental struggles faced in college. Despite their seemingly trivial nature, social hardships tend to have a strong influence on mood, motivation level and mental health. Since mental illness hinders academic performance, academic institutions are responsible for students’ mental health as part of their duty to provide education. Mental health services on campus play a crucial role in helping students overcome social hardships to enhance their academic performance and optimize their college experience.

Anxiety is the top presenting concern among college students (41.6 percent)”, and is the third most popular mental health struggle faced by college students. Usually stemming from over-stress, anxiety disorder is a serious mental illness that is very likely to lead to other disorders (i.e depression and eating disorder) along with severe substance abuse. The physical consequences of mental illness are life-threatening and severe. One in every 12 U.S. of college students makes a suicide plan”. Attending to student mental health is necessary in maintaining campus safety.

There seems to be a popular hesitation to seek mental health treatment, despite the prevalence of mental illness. “Two-thirds of students who are struggling do not seek treatment,” according to the American College Health Association Spring 2015 assessment. If mental health programs are expanded to match growing student populations, their accessibility will attract more students to come forward and seek treatment.