The Stressed-Out Student Epidemic

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There’s no doubt that college is stressful, but what has caused college students to be among the most stressed-out members of our population? Isn’t college supposed to be fun? Shouldn’t it be a time to shirk adult responsibility, do a few irresponsible things, make friends and delay growing up just a little bit longer?

The trouble is that in addition to having all of that fun, students are away from home for the first time and facing difficult situations without the family support that many of them are accustomed to. A large part of the problem is that students simply lack the coping skills that many of them will develop later in life because they are young and inexperienced.

There is growing evidence, however, that college students are coping with unprecedented levels of stress. Much of that stress is financial in nature. College tuition has skyrocketed while in a poor economy, students face the prospect of graduating with no job prospects and a mountain of debt. Increasingly, evidence suggests that in the United States, younger generations may be unable to reach the financial achievements and security of previous generations. Even with these concerns, college students may seem like a privileged group of people overall. However, each year more than 1,000 on-campus deaths are attributable to suicide. Whatever you may think about the stresses of the average college student compared to other groups, the toll these stresses are taking are real.

If these stresses can be better understood, students can better support one another, families can offer more support and colleges themselves can begin to help students more. Already, schools offer counseling centers for students, but students much also be reached and persuaded to access those resources. Part of learning how to manage stress is recognizing when the stress has grown too great and help must be sought.

So, what is stressing students out so much? How can college administrators help? Even more importantly, what can students to to help themselves?

An infographic by the team at College Degree Search

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