The New York Times reports that young people in mental health crisis are turning to their local emergency departments, which are seeing a surge in pediatric emergency admissions for issues like panic and anxiety. The pandemic and isolation have had a significantly detrimental affect on teen mental health. According to a new analysis of surveys of young patients coming into the emergency room, rates of suicidal thinking and behavior are up 25% or more from similar periods in 2019. But local emergency departments are often unprepared for these cases, as healthcare workers in that setting are not specially trained to manage behavioral problems and options for post-emergency care are limited, leaving many families in limbo.
As Democrats debate student debt cancellations in Washington, Salon highlights the mental health implications of the student debt burden held by 4 million borrowers in the US. According to Salon, the United States is unique among developed countries for pushing such a large amount of college cost onto students. This created a disproportionate economic burden for America’s college graduates compared to international peers, and increased stress and anxiety as a result. Randy Withers, a mental health professional, graduated from Florida State University in 1997 with over $100,000 in student loan debt, which with interest, has now accumulated to $145,000. Withers describes the effect on his mental health saying, “It’s more of a long term slow-burn anxiety…it’s like a monster on your back that, you know, you just can’t get rid of. It’s not that I’m unwilling, I just lack the economic means to pay it off.” He continued, “I made these choices to go into school, I’m not blaming anybody, but it does take an emotional cost — it’s like carrying a mortgage for a house you don’t live in.”
Findings from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State University highlight which student groups are most adversely affected by the pandemic. Students were asked whether the pandemic is negatively impacting 12 areas of their lives, including academics, mental health, and relationships. LGBTQ students reported negative impacts on factors including mental health, motivation or focus, loneliness, and academics at higher rates than their cisgender, heterosexual peers. African American/Black, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaskan Native students reported the highest rates of grief or loss.
University of Minnesota launched the President’s Initiative for Student Mental Health, a systemwide initiative dedicated to bringing together a comprehensive group of mental health and wellness services, programs, policies, research, and academic practices from across the five campuses and the state of Minnesota. These resources will be consolidated to make them more accessible to students, to destigmatize their use, and to promote best practices.
An op-ed in the Oberlin Review covers the intractable issue of state licensure laws prohibiting mental health therapy across state lines, criticizing Ohio’s state government for its failure to pass legislation that would address the problem.
Science Magazine explores what’s changed globally in the four years since a landmark study showed a high prevalence of mental health issues among Ph.D. students. The study’s author observed structural changes at some universities, initiatives driven by faculty, and whole countries taking a top-down approach to address the problem. The UK implemented a framework to help universities better support their students’ and employees’ well-being and mental health.
Student newspapers highlight the opinions of faculty and staff regarding the implementation of wellness days in lieu of spring break this semester, as well as the impact of the pandemic and distance learning.
At Yale University, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee plans to produce a video promoting mental health that aims to emphasize the universal nature of mental health issues, and will feature testimonials from student-athletes on their experiences.
The Binghamton Student Managed Adderall Research Team (B-SMART), a group made up of students and led by Binghamton University assistant professor Lina Begdache, Ph.D. ’08, is investigating the harmful effects of Adderall abuse on college students. Junior Dennis Cregin said, “I want students to learn that our survey data shows that unprescribed use of ADHD medications is correlated with a low GPA, a myriad of mental health side effects, and even physical health side effects.”
A pair of Ohio State University mental health surveys completed by 3,589 students, faculty and staff, showed that 70% of student respondents and 37% of staff and faculty were burnt out or burning out by December. Additionally, more than one in five of the students reported drinking more alcohol to cope with increasing depression and anxiety.
Ohio State Student Wellness Center created the Beyond Your Own Buzz program to support students struggling with substance abuse. The program is designed for students who want to improve their negative relationship with alcohol or drugs but do not necessarily want to become sober or abstain from substance use.