Crazy college students

College is stressful, says a New York Times story on the rising demand for mental health services on campus. Highered Intelligence, back to edblogging, mocks.

Kids need to suck it up and deal. Their parents need to raise them to face difficulties with maturity, grace, and honor. Hey … that’s a really nice trio of virtues — gotta remember that one. Maturity, Grace, and Honor. Goes right up there with Fortitude, Wisdom, and Temperance.

A professor of counseling at San Jose State once told me I’d make the world’s least patient counselor. “You’d just tell them to cut it out, straighten up and fly right,” she said. Yep.

About Joanne


  1. Bluemount says:

    My neighbor’s son wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until he went to college (by the college’s staff). How could the local school district have missed it? Acutally I know several people who’s kids had slipped throught the cracks. Rather than fix public schools, we could expand it by increasing the number of years required for a basic education and extended social engineering.

  2. Yea, I hate it when people whine about getting sick and insist on seeing a doctor. I’d tell them to just cut it out, ignore the pain and move on. If you’re going to die without treatment, then just drop dead and stop bothering the healthy.

    I find the idea of mocking treatment for mental illnesses about as amusing as the above paragraph. Of course, just as it’s not wonderful that some people feel they need medical treatment for a cold, there’s no doubt that some people seek mental health services rather than just “sucking it up”.

    But the idea of mocking people who seek or need mental health services indicates either a lack of empathy or a lack of imagination. (I either don’t care about the mentally sick or can’t actual fathom the concept of mental illness.)

  3. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Proportion – treat a broken leg different than a broken fingernail.

  4. Straighten up and fly right?? Would you blame a car for not starting if it was out of gas? Can you make your stove work if the gas is shut off? The brain is a machine and if the machine is broken it CAN’T work. Simply telling someone to heal themselves is, at worst, ludicrous, and, at best, misguided.

  5. Steve LaBonne says:

    I suggest you reread Walter’s comment. You and Tom, like many other people, seem to have lost any ability to distinguish between genuine mental illness and the ups amd downs that mortal flesh is heir to. This superficially compassionate attitude is in fact a gross disservice to those who are not in fact ill but who, in our therapy-crazed society, use foolish pop-psych diagnoses as an excuse to avoid fulfilling their responsibilities (and their name is legion). Come to think of it, it’s also a gross disservice to the genuinely mentally ill, diverting attention and resources from the treatment they deperately need.

  6. “ups and downs that mortal flesh is heir to’? Bipolar disorder? Eating disorders? Depression leading to suicide? Maybe we should tell folks to just suck it up, the world’s better off without them, huh? If the answer is proportion – I still want to be treated. If I can’t fix it myself, someone would need to help. Far from a “gross disservice to the genuinely mentally ill” (judged as genuine by who? and by what standard? won’t there always be those whose illness may stretch the boundaries of what’s known to be true?) it opens the door to those who need help. If it stretches resources, it’s the problem of a system that doesn’t care for people, not the fault of those who are sick.

    Using this logic, we were much better off when women were told to remain silent and endure when their husbands beat them. Increased awareness of issues and/or illnesses will obviously result in increased numbers of diagnoses. But, being superficially empathetic, I only care about that a little bit.

  7. Steve LaBonne says:

    Hello, can you read? Did I deny that there is plenty of genuine illness? But do you really think everybody going to a counselor these days is actually ill? Be serious.

  8. Steve LaBonne says:

    An additional point: the people genuinely equipped to treat genuine mental illness are not “counselors”, they’re psychiatrists- MDs. The plague pf “counselors” is essentially the priesthood of a debased form of religion.

  9. uhhh….i ain’t so shoor ’bout this readin’ bizness, but I’se willun’ to bet that if someone fehlt duh need to see a cownsilor, they’se might THINK they’se sick, since sumthin’ seems wrong and perfessunals mite help…

    and as long as we’re impugning each other’s ability to decode and decipher the written language, I refer you to my original point – if the machine is broke get it fixed. I’m to take your word for deciding if the machine is broke? or that of a trained professional in the field? hmm…tough choice..

  10. “The plague pf “counselors” is essentially the priesthood of a debased form of religion.”

    except for that whole “research” component, professional licensure, and, oh yeah, research showing efficacy in treatment.

  11. Steve LaBonne says:

    I believe I just referred you to the appropriate professionals for that purpose.

  12. Steve LaBonne says:

    Actully, you don’t want to look too closely at such rigorous research as has actually been performed on the various nostrums espoused by non-medical mental health “professionals”. It wouldn’t do much to enhance your worldview.

  13. mike from oregon says:

    Geez Emmett, I really don’t understand you. Ever see the movie Matchstick Men? Show me someone with the problems/ticks that the fellow in that movie had; hey, he’s got problems. Then there are those who have serious internal chemical problems (imbalance) and both of those types of people need professional help medical and/or psychological.

    However, this society has gone WAY overboard to diagnose any and every difficulty as being a psychological/medical or even a society problem. If Jimmy can’t do math or even if it’s hard for him, well, we can’t hold his feet to the fire and REQUIRE him to memorize the multiplication table, no there MUST be some other reason/solution – and, by golly, we’ll either find it or make up the problem/solution.

    This entire society has moved away from personal responsibility and into ‘collective blame’ (IMHO). Yes, there ARE some folks with bonifide, honest-to-God problems, but we’ve drunk the kool-aid and tend to view every difficulty as something BEYOND a difficulty.

  14. I’m not advocating that “having a fight with a roommate may also require treatment” is a legitimate illness, which is one of the points of the article about which this started. I’m saying that we’re in a blame the victim mentality – who among are able to say that the panic attacks suffered by someone aren’t real? The blood pressure rises, they get light headed, they’re stricken with unnatural fear, but to the outside, rational observer, there’s nothing wrong.

    Panic attacks may be treated by a psychiatric MD, but if we’re going to utilize limited medical resources, a good point made by my friend Steve above, is that the best course of action? The point is I DONT KNOW. But trained professionals have a much better insight into than I do, so I’m willing to let them do their job. Would a counselor do a better job of talking down a panic attack victim? Would they require medication? How do I know? If someone felt sufficiently concerned about his or her own mental health to try and seek help, that’s fine with me. It has nothing to do with math or fulfilling responsibilities, it has to do with people feeling they need treatment.

    Has our culture gone treatment mad? How do I know? What level is appropriate? What are the costs to society for NOT treating people? Looking at mental disorders as excuses to get out of work and live off the public teat doesn’t seem to be that hot a career arc, or I think we’d see even more people doing it. The arguments put forth so far: there’s way too many people seeking help, they are somehow using that help to get out of work or get ahead, and somehow we can’t “make” them do something seem specious to me in light of what we now know, and learn more about every day, about the the mind and how it works.

    Before Pasteur, people would die from drinking unpasteurized milk, has our society suddenly become pasteurized – mad? With time and knowledge come changes in behavior and action. I’m willing to give people the break, not the punishment.

  15. “Since each student has roughly a 50-50 chance of having some symptoms of depression or other problems, I think it has to be part of the consideration in choosing a college,” said Dr. Kadison, who is also the author of “College of the Overwhelmed: The Campus Mental Health Crisis and What to Do About It.”

    My first reaction is that he is overstating the case. (50-50 chance?) I would have to read his book to find out. I guess that is the idea. He calls it a “Health Crisis”, but I don’t see any justification for this in the article. By-the-way, is having a mental health service for a college a good selling point for a school?

    You have to understand why this article rubs some people the wrong way. It has nothing to do with holding back treatment.

    “There’s this illusion that the university is a safe haven in a stable setting,” said Dr. Dennis Heitzmann, director of psychological services for Penn State. “But for many students, it’s not a carefree environment at all.”

    Who ever had this illusion? But, then again, going directly from high school into the working world is not carefree. Life is not carefree, but you have to have some real basis for deciding what constitutes a mental health crisis. I suppose it doesn’t matter. If someone needs professional mental health services becasue they can’t handle stress, or dating, or whatever, then they should be able to receive that help. Maybe the “crisis” has to do with the steadily increasing number of ordinary life issues that are raised to mental health status.

    “And some college counselors say the wider world that today’s students live in is more frightening and anxiety-provoking than it was a decade or two ago.”

    .. Oh oh. Where is my tiny violin.

  16. I spend a lot of time on the campus of a large, prestigious state university as an elderly grad student doing research and a dissertation. I can’t imagine that 50 percent of the students walking around campus are at risk of depression. That’s ludicrous. Even the nation’s top researchers don’t come up with a figure that high for middle-aged women, who are prone to depression.

    I will say for certain that 50 percnt of the students are at risk for being bummed out over a bad grade, a romantic break up, or a uncertainty about choosing a major. Or maybe a poor score on the LSATs.

    There are some kids here who struggle mightily, who are poor or are disabled. There is real support for them, and real doctors of all stripes. And there’s even a counseling center for everyone. Fortunately, the counseling center gives you just six visits and then you either have to transfer to a real psychological facility or declare yourself cured.

  17. You know, I know a whole lot of college students, and I am one myself. I’d say about 80% of the stress they put themselves through is self-induced. Just my observations.

  18. “The brain is a machine and if the machine is broken it CAN’T work. Simply telling someone to heal themselves is, at worst, ludicrous, and, at best, misguided”…hmmmm…By this logic, of course, Joanne’s brain is also a machine, as is the brain of the Highered Intelligence writer…so, for you to refer to their words as “ludicrous” and “misguided” is silly, since they too have no choice in their behavior.

  19. Bluemount says:

    I think the mental health treatment received by schools in this area is horrible. I live very near a state senator, so it’s not a bad neighborhood. But it’s abusive. I have met these people and they are stupid. Let me explain stupid….. Is the special ed teacher suppose to tell parents they are better at the ‘stock market’ than they are at the subject they are teaching? The very day my son came home from the hospital the tutor was at the door, she would not allow him to have visitors at the risk of reporting them to the school. He had a compound fracture to his leg, he had been hit by a car, and this ninni waiting in my living room for him to get out of bed (he was sedated on morphine). Needless to say I find the suicide of a little girl who received help from this same group of clowns, suspect. I don’t know what happens in other parts of the country but I know 5 sets of parents who are absolutely freaked out, and if the services weren’t there they wouldn’t be getting the help they don’t need. I don’t know if it’s related but Eliot Spitzer is going to launch a campaign to become the governer of New York by fighting corporate corruption and attacking the agencies of therapy is receiving massive public applause.
    or years, child welfare officials in New York City have relied heavily on a section of state law that was meant to be used only in extreme emergencies – the power to remove children from possibly dangerous homes and place them in foster care without first seeking court permission
    I’m all for helping kids. But that doesn’t mean that every moron who wishes the world was a better place is effective. It does mean big money and big business who’s willing to manipulate morons to the point that children die. I Hate, Hate, HATE seeing children die that didn’t need to. I hate the fact that people know incompetence injures children and don’t bother to address it. My son’s science teacher was arrested and convicted of 14 counts of child endangerment for having pot parties with 14 year old. The administration KNEW, he didn’t go to jail… he went to therapy.

  20. Mad Scientist says:

    Mr. Spitzer is a fraud. Plain and simple. He should spend more time doing the business of New York State rather than positioning himself for a run for Govenor.

  21. Richard Brandshaft says:

    Suicides by college students were considered a problem 40 years ago. The problem isn’t new. Neither is incompetence by health officials, policemen, EMTs, ER staff, doctors, shrinks, and people whose competence is a matter of life and death in general.

    The usual conservative answer is that since the system is imperfect, do nothing. Except for cops, who are worshipped as Gods.

    As for the expanding definitions if what needs treatment: I am over 60 and still have my teeth. Not only that, it is taken for granted. George Washington had wooden teeth at my age. A lot of victimhood-culture whiners chose not to accept the natural aging process and apply preventive treatment. Sounds good to me.

    “Mr. Spitzer is a fraud. …” Right. As is every public official who doesn’t believe in government of big business, by big business, for big business. How dare he
    position himself for a run for Governor by actually pointing out problems public officials should be dealing with.

  22. Steve, my point is that there’s not a lot of difference between physical health and mental health problems. All the doctors I know complain about the number of people who seek medical help for trivial or non-treatable symptoms, and in fact, there are a number of doctors (and any number of non-doctors) that make a fine living treating such non-conditions.

    The same applies to mental health.

    The difference is that one is considered fine (if perhaps a little politically uncorrect) to mock or abuse. In one, there is the assumption of sickness unless proven otherwise, and in the other, the assumption of the mental equivalent of hypochondria unless proven to be actually mentally ill.

    I’ll admit that my opinion comes from the fact that many of those people I know that have taken treatment for depression, etc., basically toasted much of their life for 20-30 years before turning themselves around because they refused to accept the idea mental illness. To quote one: “I’m not crazy”. It’s a mindset that I suspect has greatly diminished a lot of lives.

    While certainly more people are availing themselves of mental health services, and as more people who need treatment find it, more people who don’t need treatment will try to obtain it anyway. That’s inevitable. But I don’t think we’re at the point where the need vs. non-need treatment seekers is so high that we need to take measures such as mockery to try and stem the tide.

  23. Bluemount says:

    I find the idea of mocking treatment for mental illnesses about as amusing as the above paragraph
    Tom, you ignore the people you mock by addressing the people who aren’t injured by these monsters. They aren’t there to help children, they are there to make sure the numbers are correct. I believe the people who ignore the abuse are the reason the system fails. You are the problem.

  24. Bluemont, I suspect your thought processes are working at about a 45 degree angle from mine, and I can’t figure out what your thesis is.

    Are you claiming that mental health care professionals are monsters? Which numbers are you referring to? Which abuse?

    I will admit that I don’t quite get the drift of many of your posts.

    For example:

    My neighbor’s son wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until he went to college (by the college’s staff). How could the local school district have missed it? Acutally I know several people who’s kids had slipped throught the cracks. Rather than fix public schools, we could expand it by increasing the number of years required for a basic education and extended social engineering.

    Are you criticizing the local school district for missing it? Implying that the college misdiagnosed? Which cracks are you referring to? What extended social engineering are you talking about?

    I’m sorry, but you are going to have to be a lot more explicit in your criticisms in order for me to answer coherently.