Guest Blog! Reynolds Metcalf is a college student helping me with some social media stuff this summer and I asked her to give me her perspective on mental health….and she responded! So here it is, my first ever guest blog. Thanks Reynolds!
Mental Health in Young Adults and College Students
By Reynolds Metcalf
Mental health problems are rising among teens and young adults. Social media, school, high expectations and the constant hurry of life might be the drivers behind these increases. As a current college student, I understand the feeling of being constantly overwhelmed, overbooked, stressed out and busy. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that one in five college students often experience a mental health condition, with 75% of mental health conditions surfacing by age 24.
Here are what I believe to be four mental health challenges college students and young adults are facing today:
Anxiety among young adults seem to originate from from a variety of lifestyle conditions and pressures. High standards are often set in place by schools, families and friends. College students struggle with the fear of failure due to the cost of colleges and the load of course work needed in order to receive a degree. I have personally experienced anxiety in college from the need of acceptance from new friends, and the worry of not doing well enough in school.
I have had many close friends struggle with depression during my teenage years and well into my twenties. Depression can stem from a multitude of situations and emotions. According to research the most common causes of depression in young adults are related to financial stress, poor self-esteem, not feeling accepted, and academic stresses. I often feel depression can begin with perceived stresses rather than real stresses. Young adults today are not learning how to deal with these feelings the proper way and are allowing stress and depression to dominate their life. With depression affecting more and more young adults, schools are beginning to provide more adequate resources for students to access.
Addiction is prevalent among college students and young adults. Many who suffer addiction will show early warning signs such as skipping classes, fluctuations in weight, a disinterest in social groups, and a decline in grades. Partying and engaging in drug and alcohol use has become a staple in many college atmospheres today. However, drug and alcohol use are not the only addictions that college kids often face. Other addictions often include the constant use of social media, and the addiction to high achievement and success.
College can be a stressful time. Feelings of loneliness, helplessness, and guilt can build up when young adults don’t search for help. Suicide is known to be the second leading cause of death among college students. Most young adults today who are suicidal suffer from depression and rapid changes in moods. I believe that it is very important to constantly talk to your peers and ask them how they are doing and ways that you can help them.
Today’s generation of young adults are growing up in an era with school shootings, 24/7 news stories and exposure to trauma through social media and their personal lives. Many young adults have been over-parented and also over-prepared in terms of taking high honors courses, overbooked class schedules and activities, achieving high class rankings and even attending the best colleges. I have witnessed the pressures of being a young adult and the mental health issues that can arise from the anxieties of today’s world. I have seen people wait too long to acknowledge the mental health problems that they could be facing. There is nothing wrong with admitting to needing a break or seeking help from an outside source.
Thanks Reynolds—I appreciate you and good luck this semester….whatever it looks like. You’ve got this.