Mental Illness Impacts College Students

mental illness

At HVRC, we treat many young adults struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Our team of skilled professionals stresses to clients the importance of treating the whole patient, not just the alcohol or substance use disorder. It is of the utmost importance that both conditions receive treatment simultaneously if clients are to achieve successful outcomes in the way of long-term recovery.

There has long been a debate over whether addiction precipitates co-occurring mental illness or if conditions like depression and anxiety bring about self-medication and addiction as a result. The dialectic on the subject will likely persist for decades to come, but it’s likely that both propositions are cogent. With that in mind, ensuring the treatment of mental health disorders is the vital part any discussion.

When pathologies present themselves varies from case to case; however, young adulthood is a time when people most often show signs of illness. College-age men and women regularly struggle with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder; and, until recently, most students kept their struggle to them self. Thanks to a significant effort to encourage young people to disregard the stigma of mental illness, a more substantial number of nascent adults are speaking up and seeking assistance. This new-found reality is good news, what isn’t so great is that many institutes of higher learning are woefully unprepared to meet the demand.


Mental Illness In College

Young adults living with mental health conditions are far more likely to resort to self-medication, self-harm, and entertain suicidal ideations. Those who are attending college courses have access to campus resources that can assist young people with their disorders. However, an American College Health Association survey shows that nearly 40 percent of students dealt with symptoms of depression and 61% of students said they had “felt overwhelming anxiety” in the previous year. They also reported that their symptoms made it difficult to function at times, TIME reports. The survey results are alarming, and thankfully there is support to be found on campus. But is it enough?

A 2016 report from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health shows that the number of students seeking support on campus for mental illness rose 30 percent between 2009 and 2015, according to the article. Schools are doing what they can to meet the ever-increasing demand for support, but resources are limited. The Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors Annual Survey shows that the typical American university has a single counselor for every 1,737 students (the recommended minimum is one therapist for every 1,000 to 1,500). What’s more, much of a therapist’s time is devoted to crisis control; students don’t have access to long-term treatment options.

“A lot of schools charge $68,000 a year,” says Dori Hutchinson, director of services at Boston University’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation. “We should be able to figure out how to attend to their whole personhood for that kind of money.”


Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

If you are a young adult in college and are struggling with addiction and a co-occurring disorder, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat. We can help you begin the life-saving journey of lasting recovery, so that you may lead a fulfilling and productive life.