The Kids Are Not All Right: College Mental Health Needs an Intervention
Articles,  Blog

The Kids Are Not All Right: College Mental Health Needs an Intervention

There’s no legal requirement for schools
to provide health or mental health services to their students. Colleges do it because
it’s the right thing to do and because it’s prudent. I think there’s a growing understanding
and it’s something that we at the Jed Foundation are trying to really make schools aware of
that it’s in the school’s and the student’s best interest to provide a really broad array
of support services to their students. The more we can keep students on track doing well
in school and getting to the graduation line, the better it is for everybody involved. One
of the big challenges in providing services is that most schools actually provide these
services for free. It’s very, very rare for colleges to charge for the mental health
services. Of course students and their parents would say they’re charging plenty already.
But services are usually provided without extra cost to the students and that creates
a real challenge for the schools to balance the cost and benefit of the range of services
they’re providing. The other challenge is that in the 18 to 25 year old age group many
people have had either no experience with health or mental health care. People who’ve
had experiences as teens often haven’t had the greatest experiences because they’ve
often actually been forced into treatment or, you know, sent to treatment outside of
their own will. So getting the people who need treatment into the system is often a
very, very significant challenge. And then it’s a challenge for the system to have
the resources, the personnel, the number of clinicians and visits in order to take care
of everybody who needs care. The one thing we do know is that college students
drink more alcohol than their non-college attending 18 to 25 year old cohort. So clearly
we know that college is a risk factor for increase in alcohol use. And there are a series
of problems that are coincident with that and that does present a serious concern. We
know about a third of college students will report an alcohol binge every two weeks or
so. So that’s a really significant number and we know that there are a lot of negative
consequences associated with especially the high intensity drinking that sometimes goes
on. We know that there are fights that occur. Obviously car accidents that occur. And unfortunately
there’s been tremendous concern recently about the increasing awareness around sexual
assaults on campus and we know about two percent of students who drink report that they’ve
had a nonconsensual sexual contact in the context of drinking. And while that sounds
like a low percentage the denominator of that fraction there are about 20 million students
in college and about 70 percent of them drink. Two percent of 70 percent of 20 million is
something in the range of 300,000 incidents of nonconsensual sexual contact. That’s
actually a staggering number. Leaving to college, going away to college
especially if you’re away from home for the first time is a period of time of tremendous
excitement and opportunity and, you know, thrilling challenges and increased freedom.
And at the same time a lot of things are happening. It may be the first time you’ve actually
been or spent time or lived away from home for any significant period of time. It’s
also a time of great psychological and maturational development. It’s a time where you’re
really making more strides toward growing up, towards establishing goals in your life
to establishing serious relationships potentially. There’s a lot happening in your brain and
there’s a lot happening outside of you in your life and a lot of decisions and changes
to contend with. There are ways you can prepare yourself for that. Learning about, you know,
basic life skills. Learning how to take care of yourself is one of the things hopefully
you’ll have an opportunity to do while you’re in college but it’s good to come there with
some of those skills already in hand. A lot of these challenges can sometimes reflect
themselves in increased levels of anxiety or depression. If you’re feeling worried
about yourself, if you’re feeling different, if you’re feeling that things are changing
in some way that’s making you uneasy at almost any school that you’re attending
there are support services and help available. There’s a counseling service. You can find
out about it almost inevitably on the school’s website. If you’re in school housing there
are RAs who can help you get connected. There are people in student services and the dean
of students office who can help you get connected to support and care. So there are a lot of
things you can do to learn more about how to handle these challenges, learn how to deal
with some of the academic challenges through your academic advisors. But there are counseling
services who can provide more direct clinical care if that’s what you need. But the services
and support is available for you.


  • Patrick McElligott

    BS I'm not wasting my money via taxes on some college kids 'mental health'. It's part of the college experience, get over it. Damn liberals…

  • Seb Reni

    I'm a uni student I have 1.5 years left and my anxiety/insomnia/binge eating is starting. If I didn't go gym I'd be a complete fat bastard and that would've pushed me into depression. Recently lost the most important girl I've ever loved second to my mum and I feel like my life is meaningless and I'm only 20. My heart and mind feels so heavy and talking about it doesn't help. Anyone have any suggestions?

  • ZeroHBR

    The 18~25 demographic are really beeing infantilized nowadays. It's sad to see a generation stalling to get into adulthood and avoiding responsability for their actions.

  • Kardia Skepsi

    The numbers of mentally disabled teens these days is staggering, especially among the upper middle class. Of course colleges should adapt…

    I just hope they don't foster these disabilities, if there's potential to cure any of them. If they disregard curing, they could create a wave of mental-health care dependant adults. Which is good for the health care industry (that can cost a lot of money) but bad for individuals who are seeking independence.

  • OmniphonProductions

    I'm constantly amazed at how mentally unstable our MONUMENTALLY privileged society is.  It's sadly ridiculous that those who have opportunities, which literally billions of people will never have, manage to need "supplemental psychological support".  That said, it's NOT surprising that more and more young people, these days, crumble in the presence of the heightened responsibility that comes with those opportunities, considering how few of them are taught responsibility BEFORE college.

  • Existentialist Dasein

    "He is mad because that is what people tell him and because he has been treated as such."
    Michel Foucault – History of Madness

  • TheSpazModic

    Parents often do a poor job of easing their children into the adult and working worlds.  It should be years-long and confidence-building process.  Children don't magically mature and integrate into adult society at age 18.

  • piratesfan22

    Ha! Mental health problems while in college. Life's easy in college, are you kidding me? I think if anything I developed mental health problems when I got out and found out how much I owed in student loans…

  • SupremeIntentionCrew

    I've been to my college counselor multiple times to ask for anxiety help and every time they try and coax me into dealing with it myself. I fall the pieces in any class that requires on speech. Before I asked for help I gave a speech in my art class and asked to be the first to do it. So I absolutely tried to deal with it myself. It didn't turn out well. I just need some one on one speech instruction. But every time I talk to the counselor they just give me a sheet with some pointers. Maybe I'm just whining but it seems so counterproductive.

  • Abba’s Ark Homestead

    Unfortunately drinking, drugging, partying and multiple sex partners take a toll on the mental health of our children caught up in the college milieu

  • Akerfeldtfan

    The comments in this video are a good illustration of why this video needs to be made. Depression and anxiety has been a major part of my graduate career, and I see it in so many of my peers. Nobody wants to talk about it because you are supposed to just grow up and deal with it but things just aren't that simple.

  • Darktoque

    Wow, thank god someone has stepped up to offer a for profit service that takes advantage of the ridiculous hysteria of living well in our modern society. You sir are a corporate saint.

  • andyk516

    Are we talking about the over sensitivities being taught and indoctrinated into them? You can't tell a whole generation they're all special snowflakes and winners by default just for being you and expect them to succeed in a competitive world.

  • Drapony Sala

    my school was quick to diagnose me at 10 with A.D.D. and A.D.H.D. but only when I was 23 and had completely dropped out of school because of the problems I faced did I find out that I am Dyslexic, and my school teachers know about it and said nothing. I was told by my old 9th grade teacher that they would be fired if they told me that I might be Dyslexic. Collage is not the only place where there is a need for change.

  • vertex546

    As a college drop out due do depression, here's a message to my fellow young adults. Don't be fckin stupid and try and carry too much. I know it's exciting to be hitting a new chapter in your life, learning, sex, drugs, parties. But don't be a moron. You're there to learn and build a future. Don't think you're superman who can go to Uni full time, work full time, and maintain a relationship, friendship, family, hobbies, ECT. Going days at a time on 3 hours of sleep sounds cool and all, until everything blows up in your face.

    On a side note, binge drinking every two weeks? Pansies.

  • Cat S

    Want to fix the mental health and stress levels of students in the US? Make school free. Don't dump massive debt on young people. Duh.

  • Eureka MarUu

    College is a risk factor? what a load of horseshit.

    "Oh boo hoo my parents bought me a dorm and a car and paid $50-100k to get me a job, I'd be so much better off if I was born poor and had to spend the rest of my life living in a bachelor apartment working at mcdonalds"

    Colleges should take the resources available to them and donate directly to funding education for people born into working class families, instead of paying people to give free attention to whiny spoiled pricks.

  • Rob Deth

    ITT: People who have no idea what it's like to be under pressure at school handing out advise or "wisdom" like they know exactly what it's like to deal with today's economy and labor pool or just "walking off" the pain like so many libertarians prescribe boot-strapping. Some of these "old timers" and lucky individuals need to admit when they're out of the loop and start listening to the experts instead of acting like they know better, which they simply do not.

  • normalguycap

    This upsets me greatly. The support services I had at UW Madison were woefully inadequate. I was screwed over many times by both faculty, professors, counselors, academic advisers and my experience was quite simply terrible and I didn't even drink, use drugs, or do any bad behavior. I was just a student trying to do well and the school basically took my money and shit on me. Literally none of my stress or problems were my fault. They were all external and directly from the school, but I can't sue. Seriously, don't go to UW Madison unless you know exactly what specific type of engineer you want to be. Their other programs are shit.

  • Moe. A.

    I thought that moving out of the household's authority and comfort and into a new life of independence and maturity is supposed to be accompanied by some anxiety and struggle. If a person can't undergo this evolution stage by himself, he will carry along the weakness associated with being under the wing of a guardian. Offering psychological support will reinforce the person's dependence on guardians instead of liberating him from the trait that is mostly prevalent among helpless children and which is not supposed remain with older people. However comforting the idea of emotional or psychological support might sound, it will prove to be a hell of an obstacle in the way of one's maturity.

  • hack9

    Wow, way to encourage the educational industrial complex. College students before didn't have mental health services; the only reason why colleges are implementing them is because they attract more students.

    American college students (speaking as one) are just weak. They are not ready to enter the real world. They need shitty baby steps because they're not ready to take on the challenges of real life. Overall, this guy is arguing for a certain perception of college as well as mental health services provided by colleges. I guess I side with it if we accept the perception as college as some sort of "do whatever the hell and get away with it" period in an individuals life…

  • xdraculaxalucardx

    To be honest, I feel like college wouldn't be so bad if I had been more properly trained and prepared while in high school. For those like myself who go from a public high school into a private college, the difference in expectations, workloads, and responsibilities is astronomical. Since being pushed into (almost) adult world of college and being expected to do and prepare things for myself, I felt like I was babied in high school. Not only that, but the stress of figuring out how to pay for your next tuition bill and making sure your grades stay high enough to keep your grants/scholarships/financial aid while learning how to think and act for yourself and work the school system while trying to integrate into the working world just adds onto the stress wagon. I feel like the whole system is just a mess and alcohol is one of the minor problems.

  • Carolyn Straub

    To those in the comments who are under the impression that the mentally ill college students Dr. Victor Schwartz is talking about are the way they are because they were coddled as children and are consequently irresponsible as adults: depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, and substance abuse exist in people of all races, all socioeconomic statuses, all backgrounds, and all nationalities. No population of people is exempt from mental illness. So to say that ANYTHING can be done to completely prevent these maladies in college-aged Americans today is childishly naive.

  • rageatm4life

    across the board Americas mental health system needs a change up and attitudes towards it. This also goes for other countries also.

  • wildshape

    Yeah sure the problem is alcohol.
    Not leaving your kids alone in an industry that treats them like machines. Becoming an other number.

  • Natanel Sharabi

    We're all just puppets on strings and another number maybe that's what's causing the college kids stress when they have to realize that

    But don't blame the alcohol

  • nothing to see here

    Its always weird how the comments have a better grasp on the problem than the video. Where do they find these 'experts'?

  • Moptfor

    I felt like he was talking about me when he said that kids get bad experiences with mental health are are often forced into it.

  • LouisBagHitSquad

    I'm a current engineering student and the pressure is really not that bad. I'm at a "higher end" state school so I can speak to the Ivy League experience. Honestly you can't address the problem in college because it starts during the first few years of life where everyone in this generation are told how special and good at everything they are. Which is false, most people aren't very good at anything, and that's OK… that's why we work hard. is to BECOME special. The breakdowns in college come from kids who their whole life were misled(by a flawed grading system that rewards busy work as opposed to mastery, or by their parents, or the media) to think that they are the creme de la creme who come to find out that they are just a regular person.

  • Richard Depaola jr

    Oh look, feminism at work…making judgments to make systemic changes based on made up numbers and falsehoods.

    2% of 70% had non-consensual sexual "contact" while drunk…before it was non-consensual sexual assault but had to change it because of the blowback FINALLY hitting them.

    Contact being, touched, which could even be a hand on a shoulder for a brief moment to get their attention. The definitions keep changing to fit their need to be victims and push their paranoia based agenda.

  • Lifelong Reading

    College is illogical, so it's natural that you wouldn't feel right when attending. If someone asked you today if you would take out fifty to a hundred thousand dollars in loans so that you have permission to purchase an over-priced book and skim through it for three months at a time, you wouldn't even bat an eye. But we push our kids into this.

  • Katja Thesaurus

    warning reminder; the tune 'frontier psychiatrist' ..n subliminal preference on naming offspring…+ showtime n dexy's midnigt runners suggestions. adhd assistance would b an improvement… w/o the causal nessecity? … my kid gets it based on made up problems one can justify by blaming me. i dont care. as long as they no poinst score on future budget

  • AnaloDim Ripe

    Some things I would suggest teaching to students a few years before they are ready for college would be family planning, money management and drug/Alcohol awareness as part of and Adult prep course.
    Also Children becoming adults can get confused as to when they are supposed to be responsible. So an age of State adult could be set at 17.18 or 19 so that the world has to get the Then adult prepared for everything by that time.
    Psychiatrist's will tell you early intervention will help however Psychiatric drugs are not that good as preventative drugs for preempting a problem before it happens nor are they that safe. Sometimes the side effects can be worse than the original problem and can effect one's cognitive abilities when learning. So a small amount should be used in most cases in conjunction with other support.
    When going to college it can be hard to prepare ones concentration and memory to supplements that could help given by the doctor to help with concentration and memory of the student before such problems can get worse which can happen (as some people can loose confidence in their abilities and drop behind) would be High DHA Algae oil and Alpha GPC doing all the necessary research on these to supplements to make sure they are administered safely would be I think an extremely good thing as you could be significantly boosting concentration and memory of students, getting them through with higher grades and Improving confidence in ones learning.
    These two supplement options are far more effective and safer I think from personal research than taking stimulants or pharmaceutical grade noo-tropics oh and cheaper.

  • Sonja Chisnall

    I think the intervention required would be changing the university system and the root cause of the issues, not just increasing levels of support after the fact. I think our society has just become too accustomed to depression and stress in the school and work environment being accepted or at least expected but not actually changing the factors that are attributed to the distress in the first place. The box method of education is outdated and doesn't accommodate for the differences in our population from person to person beyond disabilities.

  • it'svenom bro

    The teachers are just marking teachers doesn't care about disabled students I was in special education for eight years in high school and no one cared about me I stayed at high school from 2007 all the way from 2014 I was 14 years old when I went to high school and I didn't graduate until the age of 21 The teachers doesn't really care I thought the staple students that just make your money and seriously this is why college don't except any disable soon it's because the school they give us iep diploma I signed up for college and the vice principal of the college that I went to she didn't except me because I have an IEP diploma do you can't do nothing with lep diploma I have been home now for four years and no teachers really cared about me

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