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Mental wellness among college students is declining

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As college students, we tend to focus on completing the next assignment while ignoring our mental health. While academia seems like that is all there is in college, not focusing on mental health can be detrimental to your success.

College is a transitional period in a person’s life, and with that comes the stress of figuring out the direction their life will go. This can lead to people feeling hopeless, overwhelmed or lonely and can lead to serious problems like depression and anxiety. According to the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment in 2018, 63.4% of college students felt overwhelmed by anxiety and 41.9% felt so depressed that it was difficult to function.

Some of the symptoms of depression are difficulty concentrating and low mood, which can lead to dips in concentration, motivation and energy in an academic setting, according to John Hopkins University.

According to a joint study by the American Council on Education, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and the American Psychology Association, about 70% of students who use counseling services say their personal problems affected their performance and 20% have considered withdrawing in 2015.

Students have also reported losing scholarships because they did not seek help for their mental health until it was too late, according to a 2012 study done by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Of the students surveyed, 64% said they dropped out because of mental health related problems and of those 50% did not seek help. Some of the participants noted that if they sought help of any kind, they might have stayed in school longer.

With how prevalent mental health issues are, it is important to remember to prioritize mental health while in college. Some ways to cope with mental health is to maintain healthy habits, build support systems, and to monitor symptoms of your mental health, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

One of the most important things you can do is take advantage of whatever services your school has to offer. The University of La Verne’s Counseling and Psychological Services offers free video and phone services by appointment. To make an appointment with CAPS, call 909-448-4105 or email CAPS@laverne.edu. Faculty, staff and students can also fill out an SOS Behavior and Wellness Referral Report if they are worried for the wellness of another student. This report can be found at laverne.edu/student-outreach/sos-behavior-wellness-referral-report.

The fact of the matter is that a lot of students are suffering with mental health, so there is no reason to be ashamed about seeking help or counseling. In the end, it is beneficial to your health.

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