Friday, August 29, 2008

Depression in College Students

A recent study has apparently shown that over 50% of college students have thoughts of suicide, as opposed to about 15% of the general population. That is a huge number.

Remembering my own depression throughout college, I wonder what is it about life as a young adult that causes this much depression.

My first thoughts are the "unnatural" setting that college students find themselves in. Being stuffed into overcrowded dorms with huge numbers of your peers, cut off from those younger and older than yourself, having no privacy and little sleep seems to me to be a recipe for mental health disaster.

My second thought is the fact that almost everyone in today's society feels they "have" to go to college, whether or not they are academically, financially, emotionally or socially prepared for it. There are precious few jobs and career paths out there for those for whom college is not a good choice.

As much as I value and support lifetime education, I think it is time for a viable alternative to the traditional college.


Marilena said...

mu hubby frank has a new catholic blog! its called cornelius's corner. you may visit my post about it on my blog and click on the words, cornelius's corner and it will take you to his blog:) its great!

LifeisgreatTAC said...

My dh had read this article when it first came out. He shared it with my ds. Even without living in a dorm it is a major life transition and can be overwhelming. The alternative (going to work full-time) is overwhelming as well ... especially if the person hasn't had any real work experience yet. It does give us a reason to pause and add a few extra prayers for the college students in the world (those we know and those we don't).

Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

Thanks, Marilena!

Lifeisgreat: I agree. I think college students really need our prayers.

I also think that there should be more alternatives out there than there are currently.

Cygnus said...

Colleges are becoming overwhelmingly female-dominated, probably because many high-school graduate males opt to go into the military or into the trades.

I contend that college really doesn't help prepare kids for real life; rather, it keeps them kids longer because it ISN'T real life.

Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

I think you have something there, Cyg. Colleges are dominated by people with a particular political mindset, and, contrary to the "party line", they are not all that "open minded" if one happens to have differing views.

And, no, living at a college with people mostly within 4 years of your own age, in an atmosphere of partying and entitlement doesn't prepare you for real life.

Disclaimer--there are many college students who use the opportunities given to them and make the most of what they have available to them. Some don't though, and I think that can put their life off track for years to come.

Anonymous said...

for me, high school was MUCH worse. but, i think a lot of things carry over. particularly now, when a college degree doesn't carry much weight, and there's lots of pressure coming from various directions. the most depressing thing about my college experience was constant judgement, as i went to a conservative evangelical college.

Rosario said...

Wow, thats a huge percentage!!
but as a recent college graduate I agree with it. I think it also has to do with so many college students experimenting with alcohol and drugs.... get that together with lack of sleep, a life transition and isolation and voila!

Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

I totally agree, Rosario! Four years of no sleep REALLY took its toll on me!

Miss C.N.W. said...

Thank you for this post! I'll have to show it to my parents. I'm a college student (and have been for 4 long years now) and I feel completely burnt out on college. I love learning but I think there's way too much pressure on getting a degree. I don't feel like I'm cut out for 3 more years of college (I've had to take some time off to take care of my father and then myself -- I have panic/anxiety disorder) but there's always that pressure. Hopefully more people will read your blog and think twice about college.

Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

Sounds like you have a lot on your plate, Miss C. It is difficult to be *anything* else while being a caregiver, and likewise, panic/anxiety issues.

May God guide you in your future path.

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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