We have previously written about the increasing prevalence of mental health issues with teens and on college campuses, including our most recent post (see links and chart below). Studies showed early on in the COVID pandemic that college students were suffering from increased rates of depression and anxiety.
A recent article in Psychology Today does a good job of summarizing the current situation, which unfortunately has not improved. Author Azmaira H. Maker, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist with many years of working with children and families, notes the following points:
- We need massive changes in restructuring expectations of students and their performance
- College students’ depression and suicide rates are rising
- Simple intervention is not sufficient
Dr. Maker says that “It is no longer feasible to expect students to ‘simply go on,’ and manage their stress and depression while juggling classes and frayed social connections. Administrators, faculty, professionals, and parents need to seriously reconsider their expectations of students and create overarching safety nets and acceptance of a generation in crisis.” She concludes by suggesting a number of approaches to help protect students’ safety and emotional well-being.
Studies and articles that point out the mental health challenges our teens continue to face do a great service by shining a light on the situation and elevating the conversation. They also highlight the important role that time off plays before students jump into the academic rigors, relatively unstructured time and social demands of campus life. Gap Years will continue to grow as students realize that, as we like to say at Gap Year Solutions, “there is no hurry”.