University Times

Depression: An Invisible Enemy

College students continue to drop out amid stress and depression.

Mike Nelson, Staff Reporter

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There is a mental health crisis that is affecting students in colleges and universities around the nation. According to the American Psychological Association, one third of students in the United States are facing depression, which is restricting students’ success in school.

The Pennsylvania State University psychology department have conducted studies which indicates that 30 percent of students have seriously thought of committing suicide, suggesting a problem that should be immediately addressed. Here at Cal State LA, it has affected the number of crisis sessions that are held on campus. There were 317 sessions in the last school year; six years ago there were just 74.

The nature of mental health is especially important for college students and those who are are early in their adult years. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, “75% of lifetime cases of mental health issues are found before the age of 24.”

As students face increased pressure in higher education, dropout rates spike.

According to the Guardian, “Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa) revealed that a record 1,180 students who experienced mental health problems left university early in 2014-15, the most recent year in which data was available.”

This is alarming information, given that in the 2009-10 academic year, there were 380 students who dropped out; signalling a 210 percent increase in dropouts today.

For those looking for help, many universities offer counseling for students in need. Cal State LA’s Student Health Center offers both counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to any registered student.

Cal State LA Director of Counseling and Psychological Services Dr. Jonna Fries provided her opinion on the subject:

“While the reasons for seeking counseling are as varied as the people seeking services, there are some factors that are contributing as a whole across the country to the increase in the demand. Some good news is that stigma against mental health help-seeking is decreasing so that people of all ages, ethnicities, genders, religions, etc. are not only feeling more comfortable asking for help, they are asserting their right to services.”

Ruben Estrada, sophomore marketing major, gave his opinion on this crisis:

“We see a lot of students seeking mental help because they can’t necessarily express themselves so they need to find help. It is definitely an issue in the United States that has to be addressed.”

Still, some students believe that dropout rates are influenced by the impact that parents and peers have on them.

Matt Anderson, junior business major, said, “I think part of it would have to do with parenting. I think our generation hasn’t been raised the same way our parents were, and that might have an impact on many people. I think most people our age are hit pretty hard with stress from work, school, financial issues or family troubles.”

For students that are struggling with depression and stress, Cal State LA Student Health Center and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers professional and non- judgmental help with personal growth and psychological wellness. These services can be accessed by calling CAPS at (323) 343-3314 or by visiting Station 4 on the 2nd floor of the Student Health Center.

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