Mental health issues are becoming increasingly common among college students. A recent study found that 1 out of 3 college students experiences significant depression and anxiety. Another study reported that more than 80 percent of college students felt overwhelmed by all they had to do in the past year, and 45 percent felt that things were hopeless.
Although the problems facing college students are complex, experts believe that the increase in mental health problems are due to societal pressures and not being equipped with essential life skills. To help your child succeed, you’ll want to prepare them emotionally, as well as academically, for college.
Why are College Students Stressed and Depressed?
Colleges and universities are facing true mental health crises. In order to help students cope, counselors and therapists must understand where the stress is coming from.
Here are some of the main reasons why college students are struggling with complex mental health disorders.
- Biological factors. The brain does not fully develop until age 25. Until this age, the brain is largely driven by emotion, which means youth are still primarily ruled by feeling, impulse and pleasure seeking.
- New psychiatric disorders. About half of psychiatric disorders begin by age 14, and 75 percent begin by age 25. Some students are just developing these disorders and are unsure of how to manage them.
- High education costs. A college education is expensive. Students often feel pressured to make their families proud and not “waste” time or money.
- Lack of necessary life skills. Students don’t learn life skills in college, and many do not come to school with them, either. Therefore, they’re unsure of how to navigate life stressors like breakups, finances or time restraints.
- Societal pressures. Today’s young people are competing with each other in order to succeed and meet societal expectations. This can cause them to have trouble coping.
How You Can Help Your Student Prepare for College
Just as you take time to go shopping for dorm accessories and new clothes, you’ll want to take time to make sure that your child is emotionally ready for college. It’s possible they can benefit from depression or anxiety treatment in Princeton NJ.
Some of the best things you can do are:
- Avoid “fixing” every problem. Your child needs to know how to problem solve on their own.
- Practice good self-care. Too often, college students don’t take care of their physical needs. Reinforce the importance of healthy eating, exercise and sleep.
- Teach healthy coping skills. When times get tough, you don’t want your child turning to drugs or alcohol. Teach them healthy coping mechanisms, like meditation, journaling or cognitive behavioral therapy in New Jersey.
- Work on planning ahead. Help your child plan ahead and ration their time wisely. This will help them build a schedule that they can follow without feeling overwhelmed.
- Identify resources on campus. Identify the child mental health services that are available on campus. Make sure your child knows how to access them.
- Be available. While you don’t want to “do” for your child, it’s still important to be there for them. Keeping the lines of communication open will help you recognize when things aren’t right.
College is an exciting time in a young person’s life, but it comes with challenges. If you need a support system for your college student, contact CTRLCare Behavioral Health in Princeton NJ. We have various programs to help young people overcome their mental health challenges.