A survey released by the University of California at Los Angeles finds that incoming students to US colleges and universities rate their emotional health at record low levels.
According to a press release [PDF] issued by UCLA, "The 2010 Freshman Norms report is based on the responses of 201,818 first-time, full-time students at 279 of the nation's baccalaureate colleges and universities."
The survey, administered nationally by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA's Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, first began asking students to rate their "emotional health" in 1985. For 2010, "only 51.9 percent of students reported that their emotional health was in the 'highest 10 percent' or 'above average,' a drop of 3.4 percentage points from 2009."
This represents a decline of 11.7 percent since "emotional health" was first measured in 1985 when the result was 63.6 percent.
The New York Times reports that "Campus counselors say the survey results are the latest evidence of what they see every day in their offices — students who are depressed, under stress and using psychiatric medication, prescribed even before they came to college."
Brian Van Brunt, director of counseling at Western Kentucky University and president of the American College Counseling Association told the NYT the following:
This fits with what we’re all seeing. More students are arriving on campus with problems, needing support, and today’s economic factors are putting a lot of extra stress on college students, as they look at their loans and wonder if there will be a career waiting for them on the other side.
One student, Joel Raneri, a freshman at Syracuse University, who has a job at the campus news station, is taking a 17-credit workload, and is participating in fraternity rush has "already begun to feel the stress," reports ABC News.
Raneri, 18, who is majoring in broadcast journalism told ABC News:
A lot of times I feel like it's just too much and I need to take a breather. But there are people who have a much harder work load, and I don't know how they handle it. I worry about finding a job. Everyone says it's a dying industry but I am hoping if I work hard...