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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

College and Mental Health Problems, They Go Together

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Apr 6th 2007

The results of a survey just released by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, (their URL can be found at: shows that more college and students are using mental health services than ever before. In addition, large numbers of students are entering their freshman year with a psychiatric diagnosis and taking medications for mental problems. The survey found that the average number of students using mental health services on campus is 23% and that many of these are suffering from one of the anxiety disorders.

Among the anxiety disorders are:

1. General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

2. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

3. Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

4. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

5. One of the many types of phobias

6. Panic Disorder

What is causing this trend?

The college years start when many young people begin to experience mental problems due to the stresses of leaving home and having to face the real world. Independence, as much as teenagers yearn for it, causes them a lot of worry and conflict because many of them have never had to face making their own decisions, doing their own laundry, budget, and adjustment to social life in a strange place among people they do not know.

It is possible that these problems always existed but people did not seek help. Today, greater knowledge and acceptance of mental health problems permits more families to recognize the symptoms and encourage their children to seek help.

Teenagers also face a more complex world than in previous decades. Most students and their families worry about job availability after graduation, the opportunities to earn a lot of money and surpass the accomplishments of their parents are not as easy as in years past. It has been predicted that the present generation of students will not do as well economically as their parents due to the changed United States and world economy.

What Can Parents Do?

In selecting colleges to attend it is important that parents and their children make certain that the school of choice provides mental health services and that parents encourage their children to make good use of these services if needed. College can be difficult but can also be a lot of fun. Anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other psychiatric problems interfere with a young person's ability to study, achieve good grades, socialize and enjoy the college years. Today, it is of vital importance that people choose those schools where help is easily available.

What are your comments about this issue?

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

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