College is often hailed as an exciting time of newfound independence and personal growth. However, a recent report suggests that young adults in college may be facing a significantly higher burden of mental health challenges.

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With anxiety and depression rates nearly double those of teenagers, the survey findings shed light on the pressing issue of mental well-being among college students.
According to the survey conducted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, approximately 36% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 reported struggling with anxiety, compared to only 18% of teenagers.

The report also revealed that 29% of college students in this age group experience depression, while the figure stands at 15% for teenagers. These alarming statistics emphasize the need to prioritize mental health support and initiatives for young adults, including the student population in colleges across New York State.

Several factors contribute to the increased mental health challenges faced by college students. The survey revealed that a lack of meaning or purpose was the most commonly cited challenge, affecting nearly 58% of young adults in the survey. Other significant stressors included uncertainties about the career path (50%), financial concerns (56%), pressure to achieve (51%), a sense of falling apart (45%), and lack of meaningful relationships (44%).

Additionally, social and political issues such as gun violence, climate change, and political incompetence also impacted the mental well-being of college students.

The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly increased the mental health crisis among college students. Forced isolation, limited social interactions, and disrupted routines have taken a toll on their emotional well-being. The transition to online learning and the uncertainty surrounding academic and career prospects have added to their stressors.

The findings of the Harvard report highlight the urgent need to address the mental health crisis among college students. By recognizing the unique challenges they face, colleges and universities can play a vital role in creating a supportive environment that prioritizes mental well-being.

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Gallery Credit: Dan Bahl

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