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college student mental health

The Top 25 College Student Mental Health Statistics for 2020

If you’re a student or a professor at college, you already know that the mental health of students is an important subject today. Be it because of the stress that comes with college or because students have to juggle studies, work, family, and friends, it’s a well-known fact that their mental health is not as good as it should be.  

With that in mind, we at HealthCareers wanted to bring you a thorough list of the most interesting and the most important college student mental health statistics we could find. 

We’ll show you:

  • What the most important stats are
  • Statistics on specific mental health problems of anxiety, depression, and suicide
  • Answers to the most important questions people usually have on the subject

But before we begin, let’s take a look at the most interesting ones we found so that you know what to expect! 

The Top 10 College Student Mental Health Statistics for 2019

  • 80% of students feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities at college.
  • 50% of students feel that their mental health is poor or below average.
  • 40% of students with problems involving mental health fail to seek help.
  • As much as 75% of all mental health issues are established by the age of 24.
  • 73% of students with a mental health condition had a crisis on college grounds.
  • 75% of students who have problems with depression don’t seek help.
  • 40 million adults suffer from an anxiety disorder, and as many as 75% of them have first felt the issues by the age of 22.
  • 41.6% of students say that anxiety is their top concern.
  • More than 1,000 suicides occur on campuses in the US every year.
  • More than 50% of all college students have suicidal thoughts.

The Most Important College Student Mental Health Stats You Should Know About

1. 80% of students feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities at college.

(National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Naturally, not all of them have mental health issues, but some could develop them. Namely, 45% of them feel that things are hopeless and that they cannot feel better at college. As long as they are feeling overwhelmed, they are at risk of having problems in the future. Mental health issues can take many forms, which is why it’s important to try and relieve that pressure.

2. 30% of students have problems with schoolwork because of a mental health issue. 

(National Alliance on Mental Illness)

The mental health of college students can have a significant impact on their ability to study and do whatever work they have, which is evident from these statistics. 

3. 50% of students feel that their mental health is poor or below average.

(National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Subjective analysis is not always functional, but when it comes to mental health, it’s more than relevant. It becomes imperative. If as much as half of all students don’t think that their mental health is good, then the whole college system needs to be reevaluated to find the exact problem. 

4. 40% of students with issues involving mental health fail to seek help.

(National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Even though mental health in college students is a big issue, what might be even worse is the fact that students rarely ask for help. 40% is not a small number, and it means that there are a lot of students with issues that are either not ready to seek help or don’t even know where to begin. It also means that college mental health resources need to be made more readily available.

5. 24.5% of college students say that they were or are currently taking psychotropic medication.

(Anxiety and Depression Association of America)

We’ve all heard about the opioid crisis in the US, but it seems that mental health issues in college students are sufficiently high that they warrant the same crisis among them as well. This essentially means that one in every four students has either taken or is still taking medications for their mental health. 

6. As much as 75% of all mental health issues are established by the age of 24.

(National Center for Biotechnology Information)

It seems that most mental health problems start very early, which makes it even more important to place a higher emphasis on solving the many college students’ health issues

7. As much as 1 in 4 young adults aged 18–24 have a diagnosable mental health problem. 

(Madison Memorial Hospital)

Just consider that 25% of young adults, most of which are college students, can be diagnosed with a mental illness. This goes to show how big of an issue mental health problems are and how much the number of college students suffering from them has risen.

8. More than 40% of college students feel more stressed than what is generally accepted as normal. 

(News 5 Cleveland)

Highly problematic mental illnesses are not the only problem; stress and depression in college students are major issues as well. We’ll cover statistics on depression later on, but for now, it’s important to note just how big of a problem stress is for college students. If stress is an issue for you as well, here are several ways to reduce it

9. 73% of students with a mental health condition had a crisis on college grounds. 

(National Alliance on Mental Illness)

This is a surprisingly large number of students, and it can only mean that campuses are not always good environments for students with mental health issues. What’s more, the same college student mental health statistics state that only 34.2% of these students have reported that they had a crisis to the college staff or management. 

Colleges should encourage students to come in when they have problems. However, they also need to make sure they have adequate mental health guides and medical staff to help these students. 

10. 58% of college presidents state that they would hire additional counseling staff if they had unlimited funds.

(Higher Education Today)

The college mental health statistics for 2019 clearly show that more councilors are sorely needed. Most presidents would gladly hire more of them if they had the money because they are well aware of how problematic the mental health issue is at colleges today. 

However, it’s good that the presidents of most colleges and types of colleges in the US are well aware of the problem’s existence. It’s the first important step towards fixing the issues. 

Depression in College Students: Statistics You Should Know About

11. 75% of students who have problems with depression don’t seek help.

(College Stats)

It seems that the main thing about college students who have mental health issues is the fact that they rarely seek help. We previously mentioned that the number of students who don’t seek help for their mental health problems is high, but this percentage is even more devastating. 

This needs to be changed because depression tends to lead to other problems and even contemplations of suicide in more extreme cases. If that weren’t enough, suicide is the third leading cause of death among college students. 

12. The percentage of college students with severe depression rose from 9.4% to 21.1% between 2013–2018. 

(Reuters)

As of late, the college depression statistics are not favorable, especially when you consider the significant rise in such a short period. What’s more, moderate to severe depression rates also rose from 23.2% in 2007 to 41.1% in 2018.

We can only do what we can to stop the rates from increasing and hope that the rates won’t increase too much in the coming years. 

13. 44% of students in America report having symptoms of depression.

(College Stats)

Depression among college students is a serious issue in the US. What’s worse about it is the fact that many depressed students contemplate suicide, as we’ve previously mentioned. So if you’re suffering from depression and it’s interfering with your everyday life, you should consider seeking help or ways to remedy the illness. 

Furthermore, it’s good to know that there are many mental health guides and help to find online. You can visit the ULifeline — an online resource for college mental health, or Half of Us, which features many inspirational interviews with athletes and artists.   

Statistics on the Prevalence of Anxiety in College Students

14. 40 million adults suffer from an anxiety disorder, and as many as 75% of them have first felt the issues by the age of 22.

(Anxiety and Depression Association of America)

Anxiety problems are one of the leading mental health issues among college students in the US, and these numbers show just how truly prevalent they are. 

15. 85% of college students report feeling overwhelmed by everything they have to do.

(Anxiety and Depression Association of America)

Other adults don’t state the same as much as college students do. Numbers like these just go to show how common stress and anxiety in college students are.

16. 41.6% of students say that anxiety is their top concern.

(Anxiety and Depression Association of America)

Anxiety might seem like a small thing to some people, but for those who have problems with it, especially those who feel it’s their top concern, certainly disagree. What’s more, numbers like these just go to show how common anxiety really is and how debilitating it is for many college students. 

Suicide Rates of College Students

17. More than 1,000 suicides occur on campuses in the US every year.

(SafeColleges)

We can safely agree that suicide is the worst possible outcome of an unresolved mental health issue. As that’s the case, this number is particularly devastating. What’s more, it makes suicide the second most common cause of death in the college student community, according to these highly reputable college suicides statistics. The first cause is accidents, which include deaths related to alcohol injuries.

18. More than 50% of all college students have suicidal thoughts.

(SafeColleges)

Most of it is not serious at all, and just a passing thought. However, according to these college student mental health statistics, as many as 10% of these students have serious thoughts about committing suicide. 

19. Suicide rates among young adults from 15–24 have tripled since the 1950s.

(Verywell Mind)

When we look at this data, it becomes clear that suicide is a continuously rising problem in US colleges, and it’s one that has to be dealt with, as even a rate of one dead student is too much. Human life doesn’t have a price, and colleges need to start doing more to handle this major issue among the student body. Mental illness in college students should not be taken lightly, precisely because it can lead to suicide.

20. 9% of students have thought about suicide in any given year.

(College Stats)

The mental health guide from College Stats tells us that suicide is not something that only a handful of students have thought about at some point in their lives. It’s something that’s far more common even though it’s not a thought that should be taken lightly. 

21. For every person who commits suicide, 280 other people decide not to go through with it. 

(Active Minds)

When it comes to suicidal tendencies that are a consequence of decayed mental health in college students, statistics gathered by the notable organization Active Minds reveal that only a handful of people actually go through with their suicide attempt. 

So it’s vital to help out someone who is having serious thoughts about suicide, or if you have them, to seek help from your close friends at least. As many as 67% of college students go to their friends first about their suicidal thoughts instead of someone else.


FAQ

What percent of college students have a mental illness?

We’ve already seen from many of the previous stats that mental health is a serious issue at colleges today in the United States. However, even with all of that information, this important question remains unanswered. 

According to the information compiled by Healthline, 39% of college students had at least one mental illness they were struggling with back in 2016. The same number was 33%, only two years earlier. Judging from that, we are almost positive that the number is already much higher. As soon as new data pops up, we’ll inform you! 

What is the most common mental illness among college students?

Plenty of mental health issues plague college students today, but which one is the most common? It’s hard to answer this question because mental illnesses don’t always follow a specific norm, which would enable us to give a concrete answer. What’s more, several of them can often come together or as a consequence of some other issue.

However, from what we’ve seen so far, we can safely say that anxiety and depression are the biggest mental health problems plaguing the student body of American colleges. In most cases, both are mild issues, but it’s still important to seek help if you feel you need it.

How healthy are college students?

Judging from the stats you’ve seen in this piece, you can probably already agree that college students are not as healthy as they should be. This is true for both their physical as well as their mental health. Physical health is usually quickly dealt with, as students don’t have problems seeking help if they don’t feel good physically. 

Unfortunately, the same is not true about their mental health. As you’ve already seen in this post, college students most often don’t seek help if they have mental issues. If you are a college student and you’re struggling with depression or anxiety, or any other mental illness, you should seek help immediately. There is nothing to be ashamed of as so many young adults like you have the same problems. Remember, you should treat your mental health in the same way you treat your physical health!

What causes mental illness in college students?

Be it the problem of bipolar disorder in college students, or the major issues of anxiety and depression, there are plenty of mental illnesses plaguing college students today. Naturally, we can work towards fixing the issues themselves, and plenty is done on that front. However, that’s not nearly enough. It’s also not the most important thing that we need to do. 

What we truly need to do is work towards eliminating the underlying causes of these illnesses. Naturally, we cannot possibly hope to grasp the whole problem by asking the simple question of what the causes of mental illness in college students are and then providing an answer. That’s because there are plenty of causes and many mental illnesses affecting college students. 

First, we need to realize that we live in an age of anxiety and depression that’s affecting everyone, not just college students. However, there’s also the fact that new technologies, information overload, as well as existential confusion, are affecting the general student populace. Yes, these are grand issues, but identifying them and understanding them is the first step to fixing them. 


Key Takeaways

Mental health problems in college students are on the rise, and they are very real. The worst yet is the fact that there hardly seems to be a way to fix this. It also seems that it’s only going to get worse and worse in the future. 

However, we still need to work toward finding a solution. On an individual level, every person needs to appreciate that any mental illness is a problem and one that should not be taken lightly. If you or someone you know are suffering from a mental health problem, you need to help them or yourself by educating yourself on the subject and seeking help. 

On the grand scale, though, it’s worth knowing things like the college student mental health statistics and answers to the frequently asked questions on the subject. Remember, the first step is understanding the problem!

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