Survey: Anxiety and depression rising on college campuses

Butler University sign (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Colleges in the Indianapolis area say they’re seeing more and more students dealing with depression and anxiety. According to new research, the cases are more than the normal stress that comes with finals.

Counselors at Butler University, Indiana University and Ball State University say it’s a national trend. They say schools are now seeing more cases of depression and anxiety than ever before.

A University of California survey shows that incoming college students in 2014 reported the lowest level of self-rated emotional health since the survey started nearly 50 years ago. The survey shows freshmen are concerned about financial security and feeling overwhelmed. There’s also increased anxiety about whether they’ll be able to find a job when they graduate.

At Butler University, Director of Counseling Keith Magnus says 10 percent of students on campus are using services at the school.

“The depression, and you worry about suicide, and getting very severe,” said Magnus. “Anxiety disorders, though, can also be pretty severe and debilitating as far as trying to learn and do what you need to do on a campus.”

The difference is, depression is a long term lack of interest or hopelessness and anxiety is more fear of what could happen.

According to the study, students are also socializing less on campus and spending more time on social media than ever before.

But Dr. Magnus believes the correlation between social media use and the rise in depression aren’t connected.

“Depending on how the social media is used, it plays a factor,” said Magnus. “Students who avoid what they need to do use social media as avoidance can contribute to their depression.”

On the other hand, Dr. Magnus also says social media can help students struggling with isolation and loneliness. The survey also shows incoming students reported the lowest rates of alcohol and cigarette use in more than 30 years.

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