Why do so many students suffer from mental health problems?
One in four students suffers from mental health problems, according to British research. And it's not only the UK that's like that. Why does depression hit universities so hard?
University life is fun. Or at least it should be fun, being young and not having too many responsibilities. Still, statistics show that mental health conditions among young people are on the rise. Depression and anxiety are common. Self-harm and eating disorders occur. Research among British students concludes that studies are the primary reason for stress (70%), with finding a job once graduated (39%), and family (35%) also causing concern.
Enough ‘likes’ and selfies
Is the situation any different in the Netherlands? Unfortunately not. According to Bureau Studentenartsen suicide is the second main cause of death among students. While media sometimes blame peer pressure (getting enough ‘likes’) and narcissistic behaviour like the constant posting of selfies, the Amsterdam student health organisation points out that students suffer from loneliness and the pressure to succeed in academic and professional life. Huge loans also add some serious stress. International students are extra vulnerable, as they might experience a cultural gap and are often far away from friends and relatives.
Students suffer alone
However, despite the high rate of mental health problems, only one in five students make use of university mental health services. Nine out of ten that do visit a counsellor. A survey from the American College Health Association found that only 12% of students suffering from significant bouts of anxiety and depression went for counseling. English research shows that 54% of students who have mental problems don’t seek help. Why? Because they don’t know where to get mental health support, a third said.
Since mental issues can be dealt with quite successfully when diagnosed early, it’s very important to get help. Where? Erasmus University has university psychologists who offer support to students with psychological, social, educational, and/or emotional problems. Get in touch and schedule an appointment here. You can also visit one of the student counsellors. Bureau Studentenartsen made a handout to help people recognise early signs of depression and suicidal thoughts. The European Association for International Education listed five unique mental health issues faced by international students.
Chat or talk to someone if suicide is on your mind: