Anxiety has now surpassed depression as the most common mental health diagnosis among college students, though depression, too, is on the rise. More than half of students visiting campus clinics cite anxiety as a health concern, according to a recent study of more than 100,000 students nationwide by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State.Why would that be?
Nearly one in six college students has been diagnosed with or treated for anxiety within the last 12 months, according to the annual national survey by the American College Health Association.
The causes range widely, experts say, from mounting academic pressure at earlier ages to overprotective parents to compulsive engagement with social media.Maybe, but I know anxious young people who had neither overprotective parents nor excessive academic pressure. So I puzzle over this.
I wonder if the gloomy atmosphere in the nation as a whole contributes. These days our whole politics seems based on scaring people about things beyond their control (terrorists, Obamacare, global warming); when was the last time anyone ran for office by saying that things are great? Whole subcultures have grown up around various paranoias, from vaccines to black helicopters; is that part of our anxiety? Or does that just provide a focus for nebulous fears that spring from the general disorientation of modern life?