Anxiety on the rise in college students across US
According to Mental Health America, over 44 million American adults have a mental health condition. Although depressive episodes in youth are on the rise, 62 percent of youth with depression or anxiety receive no treatment.
Religion and politics are two of the largest overall reasons for an increase in anxiety disorders, as reported by the Canadian Broadcast Channel.
The cause for the increase in youth cases isn’t certain, but anxietycentre.com suggested multiple possibilities, including increased parental pressures, adoption of electronic media, increased terrorist threats, or a rise in child abuse.
The American Psychological Association has recorded a rise in anxiety since 2016. In 2017, two-thirds of Americans said they were stressed or anxious.
Utah’s rate of depression and anxiety is in the highest percentile, according to USA Today in 2018. The report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention showed that Montana, Alaska, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah have the highest suicide rates in the United States.
Kimball Gardner, the prevention program director at the National Alliance on Mental Health’s Utah Chapter, told USA Today that “we are a culture of pick yourself up by your bootstraps” people, and many people think they have to do everything on their own.
“It is not unmanly, a failure or laziness,” Gardner said about getting help. “It’s a real wonderful thing to send a message to others: Don’t wait. Don’t try to tough it out.”
USU student Camila Despain sees this need to acknowledge the realities of mental health disorders. “I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety for years now, and I’ve learned how to manage,” Despain said. “However, there are so many young people who are told that it’s just ‘hormones and teenage rebellion,’ but we need to acknowledge their very real emotions. Youth who don’t learn good coping skills turn into adults seeking unhealthy outlets.”
The Census Bureau reported that although more Americans are insured and have access to care in the past four years, there is a shortage of mental health workers, with a need four times greater than currently staffed.
This need can be seen at Utah State University, where Counseling and Psychological Services are booked weeks and sometimes months in advance.
To combat an increase in students seeking counseling, Dr. Bonnie Glass-Coffin started an interfaith initiative at USU where students could meet with local clergy volunteering their time.
“Currently there is a waitlist to visit with counselors on campus,” Glass-Coffin said in February. “We decided to offer this service for those who may be on the waitlist and need to discuss issues of faith. This way we can help students quicker and free up space on those wait lists.”