IAIA - Institute of American Indian Arts

MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES ON CAMPUS

Today’s students face increasing economic, academic and social pressures, which can lead to emotional distress, depression, anxiety, and even thoughts of suicide.  These conditions may also compromise students’ academic achievements affecting their ability to stay in school. At IAIA we offer professional counseling services to help students through this transition and help to deal with the pressures.

How prevalent are mental-health issues on campus?

College-age students have long been recognized as a group with above average vulnerability to mental illness. According to Kessler et. al. (2007), roughly half of lifetime mental disorders begin by the mid-teens, while 75% begin by the mid-20s—though diagnosis and treatment often come later. This includes illnesses such as alcohol/substance dependency, eating disorders, anxiety/panic disorders, and psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia.

 

Furthermore, the American College Health Association’s Fall 2008 National College Health Assessment found the following, based on 26,685 student surveys at 40 different institutions:

  • Stress was the #1 impediment to academic performance; depression/anxiety disorders were #5.
  • Nearly half (49.1%) of college students said they experienced “overwhelming anxiety” in the last year.
  • 31% had felt so depressed during the last year that it was difficult for them to function.
  • Over 10% said they had been diagnosed or treated by a professional for depression. An almost identical number reported treatment for anxiety.
  • 1.3% said they had attempted suicide within the past year.

ONLINE MENTAL HEALTH ASSESSMENTS

 

College students depression/anxiety mental health screening at the Univ. of New Mexico. This is an anonymous screening with results and recommendations given.

If you wish to know more about your current level of anxiety, visit this webpage for a free online assessment with the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A). You will be asked to create an account first.  the webpage, anxietyhelp.org also offers more information on anxiety and a discussion forum.

Take this brief online test to assess your level of depression. If you have been feeling in a depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day for the past  2-week period and it represents a change from your previous functioning, then go through this checklist for possible symptoms: markedly diminished interest or pleasure; significant weight loss or gain; insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day; psychomotor agitation (pacing, fidgety) or retardation (slowed down movements); fatigue; feelings of worthlessness or guilt; dimished ability to think or cencentrate; recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation. If you have Five or more of these symptoms – please come in right away to my office. If you have further questions or just want to consult with me about your situation – call or make an appointment at 424-5758.

 Greer McSpadden, Counselor