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College Students Are in a Mental Health Crisis

S.E. Cupp, Tribune Content Agency on

Warning: This article contains information about suicide. If you or a loved one is in need of help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

In this month’s Better Homes and Gardens, readers were treated to a lovely interview with British singer and actor Harry Styles — shot neither at his home nor garden, but nevertheless very revealing.

In it, the 28-year-old admitted he’d set up his first therapy session five years ago, after dealing with mental health obstacles for years as a teen idol and singing sensation with One Direction. He’d avoided it for a long time.

“I thought it meant that you were broken. I wanted to be the one who could say I didn’t need it.”

The admission is a welcome one, as young people are facing mental health challenges in staggering proportions. As more and more young celebrities like Naomi Osaka, Camila Cabello, Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner tell their stories, more and more young people will hopefully see it’s okay to not be okay. (While no longer a “young person” nor a celebrity, I wrote about my own struggles here last year.)

But had any of these people been at a U.S. college while they were at their lowest mentally, they might not have gotten the help they so desperately needed. That’s because universities are failing our students when it comes to mental health.

 

A new study by the Healthy Minds Network found that the mental health of college students has been steadily declining over the eight years they collected data, with a whopping 135% increase in depression and 110% increase in anxiety from 2013 to 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a frightening rise in suicidal ideation, according to the CDC, with 25.5% — a quarter — of 18- to 24-year-olds more likely to report they’d seriously considered suicide.

As of 2018, even before the pandemic, suicide was the second most common cause of death among college students.

This school year alone, there’s been a rash of awful news.

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