College is a big step in the life of a young adult. For many, it comes with excitement and concern. College can be intimidating for those who experience anxiety and or have a learning disability. Campus counseling centers have reported an increase in students with severe psychological problems. A report conducted by the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, stated that anxiety was the number one complaint among students.
Depression had been the most reported previous complaint. Victor Barr, survey coordinator and Director of the counseling center at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville reported that he is unsure why the change yet it has been a change that was “inching up for several years.” More than 400 college counseling directors who responded in a 2010 survey noted that there has been an increase from the previous academic year in the number of clients with severe psychological problems at their institutions.
Some experts in the field state that students feel overwhelming pressure to be successful in college and that they must make the most of the investment. This could lead to the high level of anxiety felt by students.
Seventy seven percent of directors reported an increase in students with severe problems. In order to deal with these issues some schools have hired case managers to monitor more complex issues. Approximately seventy five percent of directors stated that they need more psychiatric services to assist those with complex mental health issues. Today, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports that less than 40 percent of students who experience anxiety or depression seek mental health services.
More than four in 10 freshmen say they feel overwhelmed by all they have to do, compared with fewer than two in 10 freshmen in 1985. --The American Freshman: National Norms, Fall 2016
For educators, the need to be approachable is key. “When someone shows concern, or simply listens, that can make all the difference” students say.
Students who have learning disabilities will find that most colleges provide some level of services as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are colleges that offer specific comprehensive programs like Curry College, Westfield State College and Marist College. These schools are well known for their programs. Students should learn about campus resources by meeting with their academic advisor who can provide more guidance and a thoughtful plan.
Lastly, college can be an intimidating new world to any student.
If a student experiences mental health issues or a learning disability, there are many services, strategies and campus personnel available to help. With the right plan in place, students will surpass their toughest challenges and work to be successful. Students must be advocates for themselves to reach their goals.