Student life can be exciting and rewarding but also stressful, especially with many students still learning from home. Considering that one in five youth aged 13 to 18 lives with a mental health condition, and approximately 75% of those who develop mental health issues do so before the age of 24, it’s important to be proactive. To promote Mental Health Awareness Month we have put together a guide of mental health resources for students.
May Is Mental Health Awareness Month
May is a time to raise awareness about the importance of positive mental health. Approximately 51.5 million adults were living with a mental health condition in 2019, and as discussed, youth and young adults are as vulnerable.
First established in 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month helps educate the public while encouraging those in need to seek support. The goal of this initiative is to increase awareness while celebrating the recovery process.
Common Mental Health Issues Affecting Students
According to Accredited Schools Online, students often feel fearful when recognizing a potential mental health issue. Trends in school surrounding mental health are alarming and require attention.
- 37% of students aged 14 or older with a mental health issue drop out of school.
- Among the youth in juvenile justice centers, 70% have a mental illness.
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death among students, and 90% of suicide victims have an underlying mental illness.
While focusing on college students, research shows that from 2018 to 2019, around 60% of surveyed students felt “overwhelming” anxiety, and 40% experienced depression to the point where they had difficulty functioning.
Besides depression and anxiety, eating disorders and addiction are common mental health challenges within the college student population. These conditions are often complex, involving variables such as bullying, family problems, stress, learning disabilities, and genetic factors.
If you are a college student, please refer to the following:
- Active Minds — This national organization promotes mental health education and awareness on campus.
- Beyond OCD — A guide for college students affected by OCD, anxiety, and related disorders.
- Student Veterans of America — A coalition of student veteran groups from campuses across the U.S.
Consequences of Student Mental Health
If you are suffering from symptoms of poor mental health, try to seek help — just as you would if you were living with a physical ailment. As symptoms worsen, they can significantly affect many areas of your life. They can reduce your physical health and school experience while negatively affecting relationships and your overall quality of life.
Research shows that students who receive mental, social-emotional, and behavioral health support do better academically. Sadly, when the mental health needs of students are unmet, this can worsen mental and behavior problems, interfere with development, negatively impact work-related skills, lead to delinquency, and more.
There are also consequences for others, including your friends and family, as well as the community. One study found that 5% of students do not finish their education because of psychiatric disorders and that roughly 4.29 million people would have graduated from college if they weren’t experiencing mental health disorders. When students can’t complete school and start their careers, they don’t contribute valuable skills to the job market.
Half of all mental disorders start by the age of 14, so prevention and early intervention strategies are critical.
Mental Health Resources for Students
Education is powerful, which is why you need to seek a diagnosis. You can then create a plan that promotes healing. Remember that each individual’s journey is unique and requires moving at a unique pace.
One of your first stepping stones will be to learn more about your condition.
Many schools provide their own on-site resources. Some offer counseling and therapy centers, while others offer peer groups and printed resources. School boards across the country recognize the need for mental health resources, which is why you should speak to someone you trust about available on-site resources — such as your teacher, coach, principal, etc.
When online, the resources are nearly endless. The stigma of mental health deters some people from speaking out about their condition, but this is what Mental Health Awareness Month hopes to achieve. The goal is to end the stigma surrounding mental health. If you aren’t ready to speak about your mental health in person, know that online support groups may be a great option for you. They are also free.
Here are some online support groups and mental health resources for students and adults that focus on anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and ADHD.
- Anxiety & Depression Association of America’s peer-to-peer online support group
- Mental Health America forums
- Depression Chat rooms, forums, and blogs
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance online support groups
- WebMD’s online mental health forum
- ADDitude Magazine Discussion Forums
- Attention Deficit Disorder Association Support Group for Adults
- Beat Eating Disorders Chat Rooms and Open Groups
- Eating Disorder Hope Online Eating Disorder Support Groups
- National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
You can also call a hotline when in need.
- National Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-800-448-4663
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- National Alliance of the Mentally Ill: 1-800-950-6264
- The Trevor Project: 866-4-U-TREVOR
- Teen Line: 1-310-855-HOPE (4673)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- gov “Suicide Prevention”
More Online Resources for Common Student Mental Health Issues
Besides the forums and support groups above, there are plenty of quality resources online that let you better understand your mental health condition. This knowledge will help you take the necessary steps to recover and connect with others who understand what it is you’re going through.
Depression and Bipolar
- Students Against Depression
- It Gets Brighter
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
- NIH – Bipolar Disorder in Teens and Young Adults – Know the Signs
- Mental Health Foundation – Anxiety
- The New Way to Prevent Anxiety in Kids
- Anxiety & Depression Association of America
- Teens Health – Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
- 8 Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children and Teens
Substance Abuse Disorder
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- Substance Use Resources For Adolescents and Young Adults
You can take back control of your mental health. The healing process begins with you, but plenty of people and support groups can help you along your journey.
As Lisa Olivera said, “just because no one else can heal or do your inner work for you doesn’t mean you can, should, or need to do it alone.”
Help is available!