Monday, March 29, 2021

Record Levels of Anxiety and Depression in College Students


Three weeks ago Linda and I took a much-needed night away. We went to a hotel in Ann Arbor, sat in the hot tub, and had a delicious meal in one of our favorite restaurants. 

In the hotel lobby there were free newspapers. I picked up The University Record, which is the University of Michigan's paper for faculty and staff.

One of the articles was "College students saw record levels of anxiety, depression last fall." Here are some of the highlights.

College students last fall reported their highest levels of depression and anxiety of any prior semester, according to U-M’s Healthy Minds Study, an annual web-based survey looking at mental health and service utilization among undergraduate and graduate college students.

Among the respondents, 47 percent screened positive for clinically significant symptoms of depression or anxiety  — up from 44 percent last year and the highest since the survey was started in 2007. The study included data from 32,754 students from 36 colleges and universities, with a response rate 14 percent.

“We are not necessarily attributing this to a dramatic spike in fall of 2020, but we actually see this as part of an overall trend of rising rates of depression, anxiety and other mental health outcomes and concerns that college students are reporting to us over the last five years, certainly, but even perhaps over the last 10 years,” said Justin Heinze, one of the principal investigators of the report.

Key findings included:

  • Sixty-six percent of students indicated feeling isolated from others — a key risk factor for mental health — sometimes or often.
  • Among students with a positive screen for depression or anxiety, only 40 percent had received any mental health counseling or therapy in the past year.