The Mental Health Crisis
Trident | April 1, 2019

Mental health has quickly become one of the most critical topics facing college students today. Along with their peers, Tri Delta members bravely face anxiety, depression and other mental health issues in increasing numbers, yet access to support and treatment is a major challenge. In an effort to combat this growing mental health crisis, Tri Delta is piloting a mental health initiative to reduce the stigma around mental illness and to provide members with tools and resources to help a sister in need.

“Starting college and being independent for the first time definitely was a shock to me. Through the years, there were definitely ups and downs, but when the downs hit, I compartmentalized and didn’t talk about things. It had gotten to a point where it made me physically sick; I wouldn’t eat, I slept all day, I lost weight, I stopped talking to my friends and my roommates. I made excuses when people asked me what was wrong, like I was just tired or feeling under the weather. My unwillingness to open up led to people not even asking anymore. I felt alone, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t work up the courage to tell anyone what was going on.” – Amber Davies, Stockton

Amber’s account of her struggle with mental health is not unlike that of other college students. According a 2016 survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 18- to 25-year-olds had the highest rate of mental illness compared to other age groups. Specifically, the spring 2018 National College Health Assessment found that in the past year, 22.3% of college students were diagnosed or treated for anxiety; and 18.4% were diagnosed or treated for depression.

For comparison, the Fall 2009 National College Health Assessment found that 9.4% of college students had been diagnosed or treated for anxiety, while 9.2% had been diagnosed or treated for
depression.

Alanna Carrasco, Texas A&M/Corpus Christi, is a licensed psychologist who works for the University of Texas at Dallas. She explains that while symptoms related to anxiety and depression may be related to past trauma, many are related to the stressors that college students face. “Many students are away from home for the first time, and they are experiencing a shift in a lot of perspectives of how they and their peers see the world. They may be coming to terms with their identities and beliefs, and they may just be shifting into the world of ‘adulting’ in general. So college comes with a lot of inherent transitions, complications and growth which can be fulfilling, yet stressful and painful at the same time.”

View the digital Trident to read the full feature.

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