Top Mental Health Challenges Facing College Students and High School (2022)

Suicide Amongst College and High School Students

Top Mental Health Challenges Facing College Students and High School (1)

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among young people. If you ever have any thoughts of suicide, you should seek help immediately. Such thoughts may occur for a number of reasons including family pressure to succeed, a humiliating life experience, bullying, depression, and more. You are far from being alone in having these thoughts; however, most people cannot properly heal without assistance. Reach out to someone you trust as a first step and go from there. You can also always call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (800) 273-TALK or text HOME to 741741 in the US for free and confidential text messaging crisis assistance at all hours of the day and night.

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Below you will find more resources:

  • The Jed Foundation
    The Jed Foundation is dedicated to suicide prevention in teens and young adults. They work with both individuals and schools to develop mental health improvement programs, as well as suicide and substance abuse prevention programs.
  • Suicide Prevention Resource Center
    The Suicide Prevention Resource Center offers extensive resources regarding suicide prevention for individuals of all ages. This particular organization provides a wealth of information on their website including webinars, current events, feature information, and more.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is dedicated to suicide prevention in young people between the ages of 10 and 24 but anyone can call at any time. They offer online tools and resources, live chat, a crisis center location finder, and options for individuals who speak Spanish and those hard of hearing and deaf.
  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
    The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides an engaging site for individuals looking to prevent suicide, those who wish to make a difference on their own, and others who want to start a local chapter. You can even listen to stories online regarding people’s personal experiences with suicide and the organization.
  • National Institute of Mental Health
    The National Institute of Mental Health offers immediate assistance during a mental health crisis. They also assist with finding treatment programs, health care providers, mental health studies, and more.
  • Treatment Advocacy Center
    The Treatment Advocacy Center offers facts and warning signs of suicide risk. They aim to eliminate any stigma associated with mental health issues, as well as to ensure that everyone can easily access support through laws and educating policymakers.

Signs of Suicide

People commit suicide for a wide array of reasons. It is often the direct result of a particularly stressful situation in their life that they feel they can no longer face, or because of which they feel they have no reason to continue living. Everyone needs to be aware of the signs and symptoms of suicide so that they can save their own life or the life of another.

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Even when you believe there is no other way to resolve the issues in your life than to pursue suicide, it is critical to understand that you have many other options to ease the pain and suffering you are feeling and that many more people love and care for you than you might realize. The simple act of understanding the cause of suicidal thoughts and tendencies can help make sure you get the right assistance when you most need it.

The primary source of suicidal thoughts is when you face life situations that seem overwhelming. Such scenarios make it incomprehensible to fathom a situation where life will improve or a way that will allow a person to cope and move on. Individuals in these situations become incapable of seeing outside of, or past, the existing crisis situation.

As a result, some people feel taking their life is the only way forward. However, this is far from the reality, and you are far from the only person who struggles with difficult life experiences. In fact, these thoughts are common enough that anyone with a phone has access to 24/7 hotlines, treatment centers designated for suicide prevention, anonymous meetings, and much more to help you get through the difficult times as best you can.

In some cases, genetics may be the source of suicidal behavior and thoughts. Some people are more at risk than others including those who have experienced the loss of a loved one, those with military experience, those in social isolation, those with substance abuse issues, financial issues, legal problems, mental illness, medical conditions, who have been through a bad breakup, experienced unsupportive family life, and more. Young people often attempt suicide because of family conflict, physical or sexual abuse, drug and alcohol misuse, medical issues, physical impairments, pregnancy, bullying, depression, or sexual orientation confusion.

It is important to emphasize that depression is far from the only contributing factor to suicide.

Whether you fear you may be suicidal, or you know someone who may be at risk, saving a life may come down to knowing the signs, such as:

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  • Blanket suicide statements: “I wish I were dead” or “I’m going to kill myself”
  • Stockpiling pills or buying a gun
  • Self-isolation and withdrawal from social activities
  • Mood swings
  • Preoccupation with violence, death, or dying
  • Feelings of being trapped or hopeless
  • Change in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Using drugs or alcohol more than usual
  • Risky behavior
  • Saying goodbye
  • Personality changes
  • Giving away belongings

The warning signs will vary with each person, and sometimes the warning signs are not obvious. It is important to remain in close contact with anyone you feel might be at risk. If you feel you might be at risk, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) any time of the day or night. If you have any of the signs or symptoms of suicide ideation, go see a doctor, reach out to friends or family, call a spiritual or religious advisor, or go to your school counselor. Everyone needs help sometimes. It takes great courage and strength to recognize this and to pursue the help you need. It is an admirable and brave action to seek help, not a sign of weakness!

Signs of Self-Injury

Self-injury, or self-harm, is far different from suicide and suicide attempts. The act of self-injury is not to kill oneself, but rather to simply injure one’s own body intentionally, often as a way to experience relief from frustration, emotional pain, or intense anger. It’s a coping mechanism that some young people and adults use to alleviate tension or stress which is meant to result in a sense of calm. However, many people who self-injure quickly experience feelings of guilt and shame, which results in the return of emotional struggles.

Again, the intent of self-injury is typically not to kill oneself; however, mistakes can be made during a self-harm incident which can lead to unintended death. Each individual will choose a different way to harm themselves for relief including cutting, scratching, burning, carving skin, self-hitting, skin piercing, and inserting objects below the skin’s surface. Most people choose to self-injure specific parts of the body such as arms, legs, or front torso. The injuries from self-harm can be difficult to detect, as they often perform the acts in private and on areas typically not exposed to public viewing.

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It’s believed that the cause of self-injury is derived from the inability to manage emotions and poor coping skills. The exact reasons for self-harm varies from person to person. For some, it provides relief from anxiety, distress, stress, depression, or painful feelings. For others, it is a way to express their emotions outwardly rather than to bottle them up. It could even be a reaction to what they believe to be personal failings or faults.

Teenagers and young adults are most at risk for self-injury as the practice usually begins during preteen and teen years. Certain life aspects put young people more at risk such as loneliness, conflicts with parents, peer pressure, friends who self-injure, abuse, neglect, mental health issues, and the use of alcohol or drugs.

Some signs of self-injury are more subtle than others and they can include:

  • Scars
  • Emotional and behavioral instability
  • Unpredictability and impulsivity
  • Presence of sharp objects
  • Long sleeves and pants in summer
  • Reporting of accidental injury
  • Bite marks, scratches, and cuts
  • Challenges with interpersonal relationships
  • Loneliness, anger, panic, rejection, self-hatred, confused sexuality, and guilt

The act of self-harm is always a sign that it’s time to find support. Self-injury is a coping mechanism and a result of much larger issues that are not being addressed in a healthy and productive manner. If you are self-harming, find someone you can trust with whom to speak. This could be anyone such as a teacher, professor, friend, parent, spiritual advisor, etc. You might feel scared, embarrassed, judged, ashamed, or guilty and this is perfectly natural. However, the moment you reach out to someone, the path to healing starts so that the rest of your life can begin.

Top Mental Health Challenges Facing College Students and High School (2)

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FAQs

What are the most common mental disorders affecting college students? ›

Many college students experience symptoms of a serious mental health condition. Depression and anxiety are common mental health conditions among students. Resources are available to help students improve their mental health.

Why mental health problems are very common among college students? ›

Entering college can trigger mental health disorders

Even if someone doesn't develop a formal disorder, they might still struggle. It's difficult to navigate the stress of the transition to college. An overwhelming workload, unfamiliar environment, and other stressors can lead to a mental health crisis.

What are the mental problems faced by students? ›

Anxiety and Depression- Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health disorders in students. Students with anxiety may have low attendance, struggle to finish their work, show declining academic performance, fear new experiences, or worry excessively about assignments, homework and grades.

What are the current challenges in mental health? ›

With the proper treatment to address mental health conditions, we can reduce:
  • Suicide rates.
  • Legal issues.
  • Family conflict.
  • Employment issues.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Physical health problems.
14 May 2021

How does high school affect mental health? ›

High school can be a breeding ground for individuality and socializing, but it can also contribute to mental health disorders, low self-esteem, and bullying. While high school students are holding on with one hand to their parents/guardians, they are simultaneously grasping for their independence.

What is one of the most significant stressors for college students? ›

College students commonly experience stress because of increased responsibilities, a lack of good time management, changes in eating and sleeping habits, and not taking enough breaks for self-care. Transitioning to college can be a source of stress for most first-year students.

What is the leading cause of depression in college students? ›

A lack of sleep, poor eating habits, and not enough exercise are a recipe for depression among college students. The stress that comes with academia — including financial worries, pressure to get a good job after school, and failed relationships — is enough to force some students to leave college or worse.

How does school negatively affect students mental health? ›

Academic stress and its impact on mental health is a well-researched topic. Research shows that academic stress leads to less well-being and an increased likelihood of developing anxiety or depression. Additionally, students who have academic stress tend to do poorly in school.

How does school environment affect mental health of students? ›

Low school connectedness increases the risk (e5) for depressive symptoms, anxiety, violence, and bullying/mobbing whereas high school connectedness reduces that risk. A close social bond with fellow students further reduces the risk of developing mental health problems.

What are the biggest challenges people with mental illness face? ›

What's the biggest challenge people with mental illness face?
  • Making yourself a priority. ...
  • Reaching out. ...
  • Identifying moods and feelings. ...
  • Maintaining good routines. ...
  • Living up to expectations. ...
  • The unknown hurdles symptoms bring. ...
  • Planning and navigating the world.
6 Jul 2018

What are the main causes of mental health issues in youth? ›

Physical, emotional and social changes, including exposure to poverty, abuse, or violence, can make adolescents vulnerable to mental health problems.

How mental health affects students performance? ›

In simple terms, symptoms of severe mental health problems may lead to low academic self-efficacy, but they can also be a consequence of low academic self-efficacy. The same applies to the association between symptoms of severe mental health problems and poor study progress.

What are the top 10 mental health issues? ›

  • Anxiety Disorders.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Bipolar Disorder.
  • Depression.
  • Psychosis.
  • Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Trauma.
  • Co-occurring Substance Use Disorder and Addiction.

What are the top 3 mental health issues? ›

3 Most Common Mental Health Disorders in America
  • Anxiety disorders. ...
  • Major depressive disorder. ...
  • Bipolar disorder. ...
  • Access Community Health Network (ACCESS)
18 Nov 2021

What causes mental health problems the most? ›

Stressful life situations, such as financial problems, a loved one's death or a divorce. An ongoing (chronic) medical condition, such as diabetes. Brain damage as a result of a serious injury (traumatic brain injury), such as a violent blow to the head.

What causes high school students stress? ›

For teens, the most commonly reported sources of stress are school (83%), getting into a good college or deciding what to do after high school (69%), and financial concerns for their family (65%).

How pandemic affect the mental health of the students? ›

20% of college students say their mental health has worsened…” Read more. “Nearly three in 10 (29%) say their child is “already experiencing harm” to their emotional or mental health because of social distancing and closures.

What is the most common mental illness among high school students? ›

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in adolescents. At any given time, one in eight adolescents meets clinical criteria for an anxiety disorder 11. Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder Box 1.

What are the top 5 situations at university which cause you stress? ›

Some of the things students commonly cite as causes of stress include:
  • examinations.
  • deadlines.
  • returning to study.
  • pressure of combining paid work and study.
  • difficulty in organising work.
  • poor time management.
  • leaving assignments to the last minute.
  • out of control debts.

What do college students worry about the most? ›

Student loans/financial concerns

60% of U.S. college students worry about not having enough money to pay for their studies. 70% of U.S. students are stressed about their financial health. To afford tuition, 43% of full time and 81% of part-time American students work during their off study hours.

What are the top 5 teenage stressors? ›

Causes of stress for pre-teens and teenagers
  • schoolwork, decisions about subjects, exams and pressure to do well.
  • relationships with friends and romantic relationships.
  • life changes like leaving school, moving house, going to university or getting a job.
  • too many things to do, and feeling unprepared or overwhelmed by tasks.
19 Oct 2022

Why do college students suffer from anxiety? ›

PharmD. In a 2020 survey of 36 universities, 34% of college students surveyed reported moderate to severe levels of anxiety. The combination of academic pressure, moving away from home, new social situations, and financial stressors can create the perfect storm for anxiety to surface during the college years.

What is the number one leading cause of depression? ›

There's no single cause of depression. It can occur for a variety of reasons and it has many different triggers. For some people, an upsetting or stressful life event, such as bereavement, divorce, illness, redundancy and job or money worries, can be the cause. Different causes can often combine to trigger depression.

What are the top 3 causes of depression? ›

Sleep, diet and exercise. A poor diet and lack of sleep and exercise can affect your mood, and make it harder for you to cope with difficult things going on in your life. Although a poor diet, or not getting enough sleep or exercise, cannot directly cause depression, they can make you more vulnerable to developing it.

How does education affect mental health? ›

The broad answer is that high levels of education seem, later in life, to contribute to lower levels of mental stress. In other words, psychological health is improved by education. This may be because educated people have more choices -- they have greater control over their lives and better security.

How can schools improve students mental health? ›

Educate staff, parents, and students on symptoms of and help for mental health problems. Promote social and emotional competency and build resilience. Help ensure a positive, safe school environment. Teach and reinforce positive behaviors and decision-making.

What can schools do to help students mental health? ›

The Surgeon General's Recommended Approach to Addressing Youth Mental Health
  • Strengthen School Cultures. ...
  • Expand Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Programs. ...
  • Recognize Signs of Trauma and Behavior Changes and Take Action. ...
  • Provide Mental Health Support for Students. ...
  • Add More Mental Health Personnel. ...
  • Support Staff Mental Health.

What factors influence mental health? ›

What causes mental health problems?
  • childhood abuse, trauma, or neglect.
  • social isolation or loneliness.
  • experiencing discrimination and stigma, including racism.
  • social disadvantage, poverty or debt.
  • bereavement (losing someone close to you)
  • severe or long-term stress.
  • having a long-term physical health condition.

What's the 5 top mental health disorders? ›

The five most common mental health disorders include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse and attention deficit disorder ADD/ADHD. Millions of people suffer from these disorders in the United States and around the world.

What is the most common mental health problem in the world? ›

Impacting an estimated 300 million people, depression is the most-common mental disorder and generally affects women more often than men.

What is the most common mental illness caused by social media? ›

However, multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts.

What are the 3 most common causes of mental disorders? ›

Your genes and family history. Your life experiences, such as stress or a history of abuse, especially if they happen in childhood. Biological factors such as chemical imbalances in the brain.

What are the most common mental health issues faced by children and youth today? ›

Some of the most common disorders among children and youth include:
  • anxiety.
  • attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — also known as attention deficit disorder (ADD)
  • depression and other mood disorders.
  • schizophrenia.
  • eating disorders.

How can we solve mental health problems? ›

10 tips to boost your mental health
  1. Make social connection — especially face-to-face — a priority. ...
  2. Stay active. ...
  3. Talk to someone. ...
  4. Appeal to your senses. ...
  5. Take up a relaxation practice. ...
  6. Make leisure and contemplation a priority. ...
  7. Eat a brain-healthy diet to support strong mental health. ...
  8. Don't skimp on sleep.
4 Oct 2018

What are the 4 most common types of mental illness? ›

mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder) anxiety disorders. personality disorders. psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia)

What are the 7 main mental disorders? ›

What Are the 7 types of Mental Disorders?
  • Anxiety Disorders.
  • Mood Disorders.
  • Psychotic Disorders.
  • Eating Disorders.
  • Personality Disorders.
  • Dementia.
  • Autism.
6 Apr 2021

What are the mental health issues in teenagers? ›

The most common mental illnesses in teens are: Generalized anxiety—Excessive worry about everyday matters. Social phobias—Severe feelings of self-consciousness and insecurity in social settings. Depression—Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, and/or emptiness.

What are the three most common and most successful forms of treatment for mental illness? ›

Some of the most common mental health conditions are depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
...
They include:
  • Psychotherapy or counseling. ...
  • Prescription medicine. ...
  • Support groups. ...
  • Other therapies. ...
  • ECT or other brain stimulation therapy.
7 Feb 2018

› be-healthy › mind › ten-w... ›

Every year one in four of us will have a mental health problem, according to mental health charity Mind. If you feel that depression or anxiety may be taking ho...
Stress, depression, and anxiety can all affect mental health and disrupt a person's routine. Although health professionals often use the term mental health,...
Mental illnesses can affect how you think, feel, and understand the world. The top 10 mental health issues and illnesses include anxiety disorders, bipolar affe...

What are the top 10 mental illnesses that affect teenagers? ›

  • Introduction. ...
  • Anxiety Disorders. ...
  • Mood Disorders and Depression. ...
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. ...
  • Disruptive Behavior Disorders. ...
  • Borderline Personality Disorder. ...
  • Somatization Disorders. ...
  • Suicidal Thoughts.

Which disorder category is most commonly diagnosed in students on college campuses today? ›

Percentage of U.S. college students with mental disorders in 2021. A survey from 2021 of college students in the United States found that the most common mental disorders that college students have been diagnosed with are anxiety disorders and depression or other mood disorders.

What are the top 10 most common mental illnesses? ›

This article examines ten of the most common mental illnesses among American adults.
  • Depression. ...
  • Dissociative Disorders. ...
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) ...
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. ...
  • Schizophrenia. ...
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. ...
  • Eating Disorders. ...
  • Addiction & Substance Abuse.
7 Jan 2022

What are the top 5 major mental health disorders? ›

Below are the five most common mental health disorders in America and their related symptoms:
  • Anxiety Disorders. The most common category of mental health disorders in America impacts approximately 40 million adults 18 and older. ...
  • Mood Disorders. ...
  • Psychotic Disorders. ...
  • Dementia. ...
  • Eating disorders.
30 Jan 2020

What are the main mental health issues teenagers face? ›

Lots of teenagers and adolescents struggle with mental health issues, such as anger and body image, and find escapes through drugs and alcohol. But just like physical illnesses, mental health issues can get better, and there are things that can be done to help.

What are the 3 most common causes of mental disorders? ›

Your genes and family history. Your life experiences, such as stress or a history of abuse, especially if they happen in childhood. Biological factors such as chemical imbalances in the brain.

What are the most common mental health issues faced by children and youth today? ›

Some of the most common disorders among children and youth include:
  • anxiety.
  • attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — also known as attention deficit disorder (ADD)
  • depression and other mood disorders.
  • schizophrenia.
  • eating disorders.

What are the top 3 diagnosis on college campuses? ›

Below are some of the common mental illnesses seen on college campuses.
  • Addiction and Substance Use Disorders.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD)
  • Anxiety Disorders.
  • Bipolar Disorder.
  • Eating Disorders.
  • Depression / Suicide.
  • Self-Injury.
  • Sleeping Issues and Disorders.
21 Sept 2021

How does school environment affect mental health of students? ›

Low school connectedness increases the risk (e5) for depressive symptoms, anxiety, violence, and bullying/mobbing whereas high school connectedness reduces that risk. A close social bond with fellow students further reduces the risk of developing mental health problems.

How does school negatively affect students mental health? ›

Academic stress and its impact on mental health is a well-researched topic. Research shows that academic stress leads to less well-being and an increased likelihood of developing anxiety or depression. Additionally, students who have academic stress tend to do poorly in school.

What is the #1 most diagnosed mental disorder? ›

The most common are anxiety disorders major depression and bipolar disorder. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, this disorder is highly treatable, but only around 37 percent of those affected actually receive treatment.

What are the top 3 mental health issues? ›

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 1 in every 5 Americans is currently living with a mental illness. Of those, the three most common diagnoses are anxiety disorders, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What is the number 1 mental illness? ›

Depression. Impacting an estimated 300 million people, depression is the most-common mental disorder and generally affects women more often than men.

What are the 7 main mental disorders? ›

What Are the 7 types of Mental Disorders?
  • Anxiety Disorders.
  • Mood Disorders.
  • Psychotic Disorders.
  • Eating Disorders.
  • Personality Disorders.
  • Dementia.
  • Autism.
6 Apr 2021

What are the 4 most common types of mental illness? ›

mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder) anxiety disorders. personality disorders. psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia)

What are 5 mental health examples? ›

Many people also experience stigma, discrimination and violations of human rights.
  • Anxiety Disorders. ...
  • Depression. ...
  • Bipolar Disorder. ...
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) ...
  • Schizophrenia. ...
  • Eating Disorders. ...
  • Disruptive behaviour and dissocial disorders. ...
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders.
8 Jun 2022

Videos

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4. Why students should have mental health days | Hailey Hardcastle
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5. Student-Athletes - What are their unique mental health stressors and how can we support them?
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6. Mental Health in Schools: We’re Doing it Wrong | Maya Dawson | TEDxYouth@CherryCreek
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