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Medicine LibreTexts

2.7: Mental Health

  • Page ID
    11673
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health includes "subjective wellbeing, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, inter-generational dependence, and self-actualization of one's intellectual and emotional potential, among others." The WHO further states that the well-being of an individual is encompassed in the realization of their abilities, coping with normal stresses of life, productive work and contribution to their community. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how "mental health" is defined. A widely accepted definition of health by mental health specialists is psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud's definition: the capacity "to work and to love”.

    Mental Health Issues Are Prevalent Among College Students

    Mental health issues are a leading impediment to academic success among college students. Untreated mental illness in the college student population — including depression, anxiety and eating disorders — is associated with lower GPA and higher probability of dropping out of school. Treatment is effective and available yet because of an unnecessary shame surrounding these issues, mental health is not discussed and too many students are suffering in silence

    • An estimated 26 percent of Americans ages 18 and older – or about 1 in 4 adults - live with a diagnosable mental health disorder.
    • Half of all serious adult psychiatric illnesses – including major depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse – start by 14 years of age. Three-fourths of them are present by 25 years of age.
    • Compared to older adults, the 18-24 year old age group shows the lowest rate of help-seeking.

    Mental Health Issues Impact Students' Ability To Succeed:

    • Almost one third of all college students report having felt so depressed that they had trouble functioning.
    • Mental health issues in the college student population, such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, are associated with lower GPA and higher probability of dropping out of college.
    • More than 80 percent of college students felt overwhelmed by all they had to do in the past year and 45 percent have felt things were hopeless.

    Mental health issues can be deadly:

    • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among college students, claiming the lives of 1,100 students each year.
    • 67% of college students tell a friend they are feeling suicidal before telling anyone else.
    • More than half of college students have had suicidal thoughts and 1 in 10 students seriously consider attempting suicide. Half of students who have suicidal thoughts never seek counseling or treatment.
    • 80-90% of college students who die by suicide were not receiving help from their college counseling centers