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Open Conversation: Mental Health in College Students

Posted at 12:09 AM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 12:53:52-04

WACO, Texas — One of the hardest hit demographics when it comes to mental health are college students.

With the increased pressures of academic success and building relationships with peers, students have some of the highest rates of depression and anxiety.

"For first-time students there is that transition period of going from being a teenager to being an adult and that can be really challenging for a lot of people," Haley Black, a counselor at McLennan Community College, told 25 News.

Nearly 45 percent of students have reported having some sort of mental illness while away at school. Starting a new phase in life on top of academic and social pressures, finding time to take care of oneself can be difficult

"When to study, when to exercise, when to eat, when to sleep, when to play these are all important to mental health," Baylor Counseling Center's Dr. Randal Boldt said.

According to the Mayo Clinic, suicide is the third leading cause of death for college students. Over the past few years, counselors have reported an increase in students reaching out for help.

"We have seen an increase in students reaching out for counseling, not just the number but also with the severity of the concerns that they are struggling with," Dr. Boldt said.

While cases of anxiety and depression in students have increased, so has the idea of self-care. Whether that is taking time for themselves, exercising, or meditating.

"Struggling in life, it's not a weakness, it is not a character flaw, it is something that we all go through, life is hard and we need help sometimes and it is okay to reach out," Black said.

According to the Mayo Clinic, while nearly half of college students struggle with some mental illness 75 percent never reach out for help. Both McLennan Community College and Baylor University want to change that.

The schools offer different resources for students who are struggling, such as free counseling centers, group therapy, and on-campus care.

To get in touch with mental health resources at MCC, students can call 254-299-8210 during office hours, or MCC Campus Police at 254-299-8911 after hours.

Baylor students can get in touch with their Counseling Center by calling 254-710-2467.