Sad students

Those carefree college days are bleak for the growing number of students who suffer from mental health problems, reports the Washington Post.

“The number one medication in college is antidepressants,” said Richard Kadison of Harvard University, whose book about the growing mental health crisis at colleges was published last year. “It’s surpassed birth control pills.”

A much higher percentage of young people go to college these days, including those who rely on drugs like Prozac to function. They may lack the resilience to handle the academic and social stress of college.

Now, one in 10 students seriously considers suicide in college. Nearly half get so depressed that they can’t function, according to the American College Health Association, and every year, about 1,400 college students die from injuries related to drinking alcohol.

In loco parentis is gone, yet university officials spend more time than ever trying to take care of their students.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. BadaBing says:

    16 days after leaving Vietnam, I found myself taking 16 units in a 4-year liberal arts college. The shock to the system was severe. I got anxious and depressed but kept keeping on. It passed. Starting college can be a major stressor that can send you into a nosedive. Taking bullshit education classes such as Cultural Diversity can push you to the brink of murdering your professor. Still haven’t decided which is worse.

  2. Tom West says:

    Actually, if I think about my own experience, it was the brilliant students that had a vastly greater chance of either dropping out or losing a year to a sudden, inexplicable loss of motivation, (although it sometimes seemed triggered by relationship troubles).

    I will admit that I was stupified by the idea that people with such promise could flame out for “no reason”, and it seemed to me to be an incredible waste of human potential.

    Twenty years later, the behaviour has “clinical depression” written all over it.

    Given parent’s absence, and the inability to most depressees to diagnose themselves, (implied) criticism of the university for providing mental health services seems odd. Unless, of course,
    one has the attitude the mental health services are for those who don’t have the mental discipline to “snap themselves out of it”, a belief that seems completely at odds with widespread professional opinion and my personal observations.

    Does Joanne have this attitude, or is she implying that those with either mental *or* physical infirmities are not fit to attend college?

    And given that many if not most students are never going to live with parents again, I think the analogy is not “in loco parentis”, but the provision of workplace physical and mental health services, something that most companies who seriously value their employees endeavour to supply.

  3. Taking bullshit education classes such as Cultural Diversity can push you to the brink of murdering your professor.

    Now THAT made my day!! ROTFLMAO!!

  4. I wonder how connected this phenominon is to the fact that an awful lot of studenta are in college to fulfill expectations–especially parental expectations–rather than because of any strong learning desires or career plans of their own.

    Tom Watson Jr, long-time head of IBM, mentions in his autobiography that as an adolescent he suffered from extremely severe bouts of depression…almost certainly related to his fear that he would not be able to meet the expectations of his father (IBM’s founder) In his case, the incidents stopped when he went away to college.

  5. Another possibility is that this is a generation of students that has had 24/7/365 intense parental supervision. When I think about how I spent my time as a kid, and look at what is happening now, I feel really lucky.

  6. That’s what happens when you raise a gereration of WIMPS.

  7. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Perhaps if colleges would spend less effort teaching students to reject parental values, their failure to teach viable replacement values would do less harm.

  8. I’m going to second Mike on this one.

    When most students go to college, they’re going from being constantly supported and defended by their parents to being all alone in a demanding world. If students are breaking down, academically or emotionally, when they’re getting to college, it’s inadequate preparation before college. Parents should allow (force) their children to operate somewhat independently during the middle and high school years so that operating independently during college isn’t such a stressor.

    For those students who find moving away from home and holding down a full college schedule all at the same time just too much to handle, there’s always a year or two at the local JC.

  9. Sure, high-pressure parenting is part of the problem – but this doesn’t seem to be limited to the elite schools to which overparented, extruded kids are sent.

    I think the main problem is that the generation of weightless, eventles self-esteem is finally hitting the real world. Young people encouraged to think the world of themselves now encounter challenging classes that actually demand work and *gasp!* grade openly and competitively based on mastery of material.

    Let them get depressed in college – and get a clue – before my company hires them and I have to work with them.

  10. superdestroyer says:

    The students also face a more uncertain future. In a knowledge economy, your assets, specific knowledge, are more time limited in the past. It used to be get into college and finish (Witness Bush the senior). Now it is get into the right colllege, make good grades, make a high GRE score, get into the right graduate or professional school, finish high in your graduate class, get the right internship and finally land the right job.

    A little different from the 1950’s.

  11. Tom West says:

    Most of these comments assume that the level of mental distress is actually increasing. I’d say it’s very likely that it’s remained relatively constant. It’s simply that students suffering from mental illnesses aren’t automatically flaming out of university (or burning a year or two) the way they used to.

    That, and the number of students who would never have made it into college except for treatment in high school has no doubt significantly risen, and they would likely have greater demand for mental health care.

  12. John from OK says:

    I agree with Tom West. When I attended UCLA and UCSC in 1979-1984, “lonliness” was described by students as their major problem, suicide was recognized by the school as a grave concern, pychiatric appointments took 6 weeks, although there was plenty of cocaine, LSD, weed, and booze for students to medicate themselves. Friends of mine “flamed out”, and I was blessed by good timing that I didn’t. It could just be that cases like these are now being reported.

    Of course, those were people that I knew, including myself, and not a representative sample.

  13. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    After a generation of coddling and moral relativism….the chickens are coming home to roost.

  14. At least some of these “depressed” students might be suffering post-traumatic stress disorder from public school bullying.

  15. Coddling? If anything, it is the bullies, criminals, tribal thugs, and sports cultists who are being coddled – not the real students.

  16. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Colleges should teach independent thinking, not just obedience to a different philosophy.

  17. trotsky says:

    What, late adolescents hanging around trying to figure out what they want to do with the rest of their lives and test-driving relationships while soaked in hormones and booze — and they’re depressed?

    I think the only thing that has changed is the availability of SSRIs.

  18. Colleges should teach independent thinking, not just obedience to a different philosophy.

    Why can’t the pre-secondary schools teach, or at least tolerate, “schizoid” (i.e. independent) thinking?

  19. Reginleif says:

    I graduated in 1989, and I suffered depression throughout college — much of it situational, but with a definite chemical basis.

    I kind of just slogged through it, and managed to graduate with a GPA of about 3.0. But it was a hard, hard time for me. I’m very grateful that science eventually developed antidepressants that allow me to function well enough to hold down a job, pay my bills, do errands, and the like.

    I agree that the youngest few generations haven’t been raised in anything like a responsible or constructive manner. But it irks me to see so many people in this thread assume that clinical depression is just something “wimps” get. Until you’ve actually fought the “Black Dog,” as Churchill called it, you can’t really understand.

  20. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    Hey Beeman…

    The coddling problem goes across the spectrum….from brainiacs to thugs.

    The culprits? The Me-generation spawned parents, teachers, legal system, et al. American society.

  21. nailsagainsttheboard:

    In the thug-centered education of the last 30 years, it’s the “brainiacs” that were branded as schizophrenic autistic subhumans and systematically tortured in the name of “socialization”. Maybe some brainiacs were coddled (the rich ones, likely) but plenty were not, and plenty were sacrificed to the Moloch of bully-socialization.

  22. BadaBing says:

    I really think this bullying phenomenon is being blown way out of proportion. I have never had to deal with a bully in one of my high school classes and it doesn’t seem to be a problem with other teachers or to the administration. Are smart kids really being beaten up in the parking lot after school like Jerry Mitchell in Three O’Clock High, my all-time favorite flick? Does media hype have anything to do with our perceptions or mis-perceptions in this regard? I could be wrong, but my gut feeling is that it’s not the huge problem I hear and read about.

    I would like to throw my lot in with Reginleif and say that clinical depression is a very serious condition not brought on by being a whimp. It’s brain chemistry. Those who have not experienced the horror and despair of a real clinical depression are often under the assumption that the sufferer should just snap himself out of it. It doesn’t work that way. What I do question is the validity of so many college students’ diagnoses. The blues isn’t clinical depression. Too bad there isn’t some way of knowing how many students really have a clinical depression on their hands as opposed to those who simply feel lonely or sad without the alteration in brain chemistry that justifies taking Nardil, Paxil, Effexor, Prozac, etc.

  23. Reginleif wrote:
    I’m very grateful that science eventually developed antidepressants that allow me to function well enough to hold down a job, pay my bills, do errands, and the like.

    AMEN! Still working on the “pay my bills” part, though.:-)

  24. BadaBing wrote:
    I could be wrong, but my gut feeling is that it’s not the huge problem I hear and read about.

    Having avoided the horrors of middle/high school completely(thanks to homeschooling) I can’t say for certain, but my guess would be it’s the mental/emotional “bullying” that does most of the damage.

  25. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Naw – it’s those cute little girls with their plaid skirts and their white blouses and their non-patent leather shoes… Arghhhh.

  26. Trotsky –

    Yeah, test-driving relationships, hormones, and booze. That’s definitely what college is all about for all of us.

    How about the kids superdestroyer talks about, the ones who work three jobs a week, or spend over thirty-five hours a week in class, or need to get straight As if they want to come back to school the next year?

    There’s an awfully bad attitude towards kids in these comments, a lot of the time. I can understand that, given the kind of news we read here every day, but come on. You can’t all believe that of all of us, or else why care?

  27. superdestroyer says:

    Another cause of stress may be the idea of “effortless Prefection”

    As stated in a study a Duke:

    One undergraduate woman, in striving to describe what the social climate for women was at Duke, came up with this beautiful phrase. She said that the expectation for women at Duke was ‘effortless perfection,'” says Donna Lisker, director of the Duke Women’s Center. “By that, she meant they had to be not only academically successful, but also successful by all the traditionally female markers — thin, pretty, well-dressed, nice hair, nice nails. And, the real rub is you had to do it with no visible effort

  28. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Pre-traumatic stress syndrome?

  29. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    Speaking as an LAUSD teacher, the District is becoming more “brainiac’-oriented (pacing plans, higher academic standards in all grade levels), which sounds great, except that not all students are academically-inclined, nor part of the intelligentsia….vocational ed. has been relegated to the back burner, which leaves out students who would be better served by learning more practical skills.

    “Thugs” just shouldn’t be tolerated, by either mainstream public or private school.

  30. Speaking as an LAUSD teacher, the District is becoming more “brainiac’-oriented (pacing plans, higher academic standards in all grade levels), which sounds great, except that not all students are academically-inclined

    I agree on this point. Let’s bring back tracking and streaming, and bring forward vouchers and other alternatives. Not all students are the same, dammit!!

    nor part of the intelligentsia….

    And even here, there are many different “intelligentsias”. Silicon Valley or Hollywood or East Coast. The smartest of all students are the ones least suited to the old Prussian schoolhouse, and most suited to unschooling (like Edison).

    vocational ed. has been relegated to the back burner, which leaves out students who would be better served by learning more practical skills.

    Yes, I seem to have mentioned that before. Probably, the unions are against vocational ed; they fear it could flood the job market and drive down wages.

  31. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    I think teacher unions have much less to do with the cutting of vocational ed. program, and much more to do with the cultural elitist leftist crap coming out of the universities and teacher training programs. Everything is taught in the abstract, as the Left likes to imagine a classless society. I’m a UTLA member (because of that damn agency fee!)–The teachers’ union, like all unions, are concerned about two things: wages and working conditions. Period. The unions are hardly trendsetters or even decision-makers on curricula.

  32. Nails: First of all, I was referring more to the tradesmen’s unions (carpenters, plumbers, machinists) rather than the teachers’ unions, being opposed to vocational ed. It sounds illogical, but they do want to keep their wages up by keeping up demand for their trades. And secondly, many unions are quite leftist. The teachers’ unions are one of these, even though they have little influence on curricula. Industrial unions are less likely to be leftist, and more likely to be mafia-dominated instead.

  33. Beeman wrote:
    Industrial unions are less likely to be leftist, and more likely to be mafia-dominated instead.

    And the distinction would be?