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Opinions on Inside Higher Ed

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Colleges and universities in both the United States and Canada have a mental health problem. According to a recent report by the Council of Ontario Universities in Canada, the number of students on campus diagnosed with mental health conditions has “ more than doubled over the past five years .” The situation is similar in other countries . Increasing numbers of students are struggling with depression and anxiety, and university services are struggling to help them. This situation will most probably only continue to get worse with the uncertainties and upheavals of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why has this happened? Why have 65 percent of Canadian and American students reported suffering from “overwhelming anxiety” despite the expansion of campus mental health services and awareness campaigns? Why has the undergraduate experience, a time when young people have a chance to learn and to grow in an intellectually stimulating environment, become a time of pervasive worry about the future coupled with intense determination to get ahead?

The campus mental health crisis likely has many causes, extending from economic precarity, debt and a media-driven atmosphere of crisis to underdeveloped coping skills and unrealistic expectations.

Yet one subject that is rarely broached in debates about student mental […]

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