The Associated Press (AP) investigated the state of student mental health on the largest college campuses in America and found students receiving mental health treatment has increased by 35% since 2014. The news service cites reduced stigma for seeking help, increased anxiety, depression and disorders as some reasons for the jump.
Local therapists confided to The Ohio Star that the education system and “participation trophy” culture are major contributing factors.
One central Ohio counselor who worked with primary and secondary school-aged students who are now in college pointed her finger at Common Core and excessive testing. “I had young children coming to my office after Common Core entered the schools. The increased testing and pressure were so great, many of these children expressed suicidal thoughts, including a 10-year-old,” the counselor said.
A therapist from Franklin County who works largely with students from the Ohio State University thought that pressure in school is definitely a problem. She also explained some cultural contributions.
“It use to be if you had a 2.0 and a pulse you got in [to Ohio State], and now it’s extremely competitive. So I see people all the way from Freshman to PhD…who are use to succeeding. They come to the college campus and they don’t know how to balance their lives with things like sleeping and eating…” she explained. “Their depression starts when they get their first D or F on an exam. I’ve had them tell me, ‘You know, I wish they would have taught us how to fail so we can accept it better, because life is full of struggles’.”
Additional pressures mentioned by the counselors included social media, access to more information than any previous generation, and the overwhelmingly negative narratives from the media and others about global warming, excessive violence and war. Many of the students believe these issues will result in the end of the world in the next few years.
The Franklin County therapist shared the young people are overwhelmed with what they believe are serious problems they cannot fix.
A suicide task force was created at Ohio State last year due to two separate incidents of people jumping or falling from campus parking garages. One student died.
The Ohio Department of Health recently confirmed suicide rates are climbing among 10 to 24-year-olds in a recent report. Deaths have increased by 56% for student-aged Ohioans from 2007 to 2018.
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