Why are we so anxious? Mental health concerns increasingly becoming an issue among students

By Autumn Miller  

A 2020 survey done by the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors found that anxiety is the top presenting concern among college students (41.6 percent). Today’s college students appear to be more agitated and nervous than they have ever been. Anxiety levels have risen in recent years in Sweden, according to recent research, particularly among young individuals.

In the United States, some evidence suggests that teenage psychological well-being has declined in recent years. Though research demonstrates a substantial link between time spent on electronic communication (social media, cellphones) and decreasing well-being among teens, it’s unclear what’s generating this trend. If electronic communication takes the place of good coping habits like exercise, face-to-face social contacts, and studying, it may make it more difficult to transition to college.

The pandemic also has had an impact. The U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy in December 2021 issued a new advisory to highlight the urgent need to address the nation’s youth mental health crisis because of COVID-19 and its impacts.

According to Harvard Medical School, many variables contribute to anxiety. The increased risk of anxiety among college students is due to a variety of causes. Sleep disturbance induced by excessive coffee use and all-nighters, for example, has been linked to increased anxiety among college students. Loneliness is also linked to mental health issues, such as anxiety. Psychological discomfort among college students is also linked to academic aspects such as school stress and disinterest in academics.

Surveying three York College students who requested anonymity, similarities were found between each interviewee. All three say they suffer from anxiety daily. Some days are worse than others. But the anxiety is constantly there and never seems to go away. They all agree that the pandemic has worsened their anxiety due to the fact that they weren’t able to go out and about and, just in general, anxiety levels were higher due to everyone getting sick and fearing that they or someone they knew would catch the virus. When it comes to school, they say their anxiety is worse during the school year than it is during the summer, which is due to exams, tests, quizzes, homework, studying, and in general, just trying to keep up with everything within their classes while also trying to balance life with school and with work. Two of the interviewees agree that presentations and anything involving public speaking really increase their anxiety.

As to how anxiety is affecting their lives, all three interviewees say that anxiety is affecting their education, relationships, and personal health. Anxiety makes it difficult to try new things, take chances at work or in your personal life, and even leave the house. Many people who suffer from anxiety feel trapped. They see things they want to do in life but are afraid to try because of their worry. Good relationships are essential for pleasure as social humans. Anxiety problems, unfortunately, also have a negative impact on relationships. Because anxiety reduces your desire to do new things, it also limits what you’ll try with your pals. It may even hinder your willingness to make new acquaintances and meet new individuals.

The value we place on social acceptability, ironically, also fuels social anxiety. For other people, the stakes are simply too great to risk rejection. Instead, they become increasingly socially alienated and worried. As for how it’s affecting their education and personal health, they miss classes, get little sleep, don’t eat, they just want to lay in bed all day and not come out.

YCP offers counseling services to help those who are suffering from anxiety and other mental health problems. Any student who would like to schedule an appointment can call the counseling services at 717.815.6437 or email counselingservices@ycp.edu.  They are also offering In-person, virtual, and phone counseling sessions as well.

There is also a Student Wellness Committee, which strives to cultivate an environment that supports the well-being of our students by encouraging positive change on an individual and community level. This committee is made up of:

  • Athletics and Recreation
  • Career Development
  • Counseling Services
  • Dining Services
  • Health Services
  • Student Diversity and Inclusion
  • Residence Life
  • Spiritual Life
  • Student Activities

Located on the YCP mental health page is the wellness wheel, which illustrates a wellness model featuring seven dimensions: emotional, intellectual, physical, social, environmental, financial, and spiritual. All of the dimensions are interconnected and important to a well-rounded and balanced lifestyle.

To learn more about the counseling service offered at ycp, click the link below:     https://www.ycp.edu/about-us/offices-and-departments/student-development-and-campus-life/counseling-services/

Autumn Miller is a senior majoring in Mass Communication.

READ MORE: April 25 is Mental Health Awareness Day on campus: Here’s what is planned

READ MORE: Center for Community Engagement keeps building on 15-plus years of ‘being a bridge’ between YCP, community

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