Anxiety & College Students
The college years can be a stressful time. Managing school work and possibly a job, making new friends, learning to handle adult responsibilities and being without the daily support of family members can cause anxiety. Most students learn to manage these new demands. For some, this time may trigger more frequent, intense and uncontrollable anxiety symptoms.
Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems on college campuses. When looking at American adults with an anxiety disorder, 75 percent of them experienced their first episode of anxiety before age 22.
Mental health issues are prevalent on college campuses. According to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), college students reported the following in the past year:
- More than 40% felt more than an average amount of stress
- More than 80% felt overwhelmed by all they had to do
- 73% experienced a mental health crisis on campus
- 50% did not seek treatment for a mental health condition
- 11% of college students were treated for anxiety
- 10% of college students were treated for depression
- 7% seriously considered suicide
Anxiety disorders in college students often co-occur with other disorders such as depression, eating disorders, substance abuse and body dysmorphic disorder.
Questions to Ask Before Your Child Gets to Campus
Don’t just ask about financial aid, housing and curriculum when visiting campus, check into mental health services and policy as well! The following questions can help you determine whether the services will meet the needs of your child struggling with stress and anxiety, an anxiety disorder or other mental health problem:
- Do you offer individual or group counseling sessions to students? How frequently? Are they free or is there a charge?
- Do you accept private insurance for counseling or psychiatric services?
- Do you offer health insurance to students? If so, what psychiatric services are covered?
- Do any professionals in the counseling center specialize in treating anxiety disorders?
- What services do you offer specifically for anxiety disorders? (For example, support groups, relaxation techniques or stress-management resources.) Is a counselor on call 24 hours a day? If not, what is the process for handling a crisis after hours?
- Does the college run a suicide hotline?
- Under what conditions, if any, would the counseling center notify parents of a student’s mental state or treatment?
- What kind of follow-up do you conduct if a faculty member, parent or friend expresses concern about a student? What accommodations do you offer for students with anxiety or other mental health disorders?
- Is student health information kept private and confidential? What is your policy?