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Kylena Marney

Writing 2010; Jessie Richards
Synthesis 2 Draft

A Window into the Conversation Surrounding Mental Health in College Students

The topics that seem to be presented most frequently in the conversation surrounding
mental health in college students are: mental health services provided by the college, negative
effects of mental illness on other aspects of a students life, such as academic performance, and
the potential causes and/or factors of mental health problems among college students.
The vast majority of colleges and universities have implemented some form of resource
in order to better help students dealing with mental health issues. Often, this resource is a
counseling services center.
The most commonly diagnosed mental health problems among college students are
anxiety and depression. Anxiety is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as an abnormal
and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs , by
doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about ones capacity to
cope with it. The dictionary defines depression as a serious medical condition in which a
person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and is often unable to live in a normal way.

Student Mental Health Services

Over the past few decades, there have been rapidly increasing numbers of students being
diagnosed with mental health issues. More specifically, at the eleven schools that comprise the
Big Ten conference, there has been roughly a 42% increase in the number of students seen in

the counseling centers between the years 1992 and 2002 (Voelker). Because of this rapid growth
in demand for counseling and treatment, there are ever fewer resources for those students who
need them. (Baker, Brown, Cleary, Hunt, Mackaskill, Ratanasiripong, Voelker, Zimmerman)
Stigma surrounding mental health problems. Costa, Phelan.
How colleges are falling short. Baker, Mackaskill?, Voelker.
How Colleges are helping. Gruttadore, Larovic, Ratanasiripong, Zimmerman, Leggett
How colleges can help more. Brown, DeKruyf, Hunt, Leggett, Skead? Zimmerman

Negative Effects Resulting from Mental Health Issues

Mental health problems often result in poor academic performance, substance abuse,
and/or worse mental health problems, possibly resulting in suicide. Students might turn to drugs
or alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate.
Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death among college students, with about
1,088 students dying by suicide each year (Taub and Thompson, 5). According to Deborah J.
Taub and Jalonda Thompson in their article, College Student Suicide, the estimated rate of
attempted suicide is somewhere between 100 and 200 for every completed suicide and around
90 to 95 percent of those who die by suicide have some form of treatable mental disorder at the
time of their deaths.

Potential Causes and Factors Leading to Mental Health Issues

Potential causes or factors that might lead to the development of mental health issues
include, but are not limited to, financial struggles, personal relationship problems (roommate,
romantic, etc.), sexual orientation, substance abuse, feeling alone, pregnancy, low self-efficacy,

high levels of stress, or the development of a significant mental disorder (schizophrenia, Manicdepressive disorder, etc.).
Personal relationships can dramatically influence a students mental health. For example,
a study published in 2014 found that dysfunctional relationships between college roommates are
closely associated with their negative emotions and with their adjustment to college life (Erb,
Another factor that may strongly influence a students mental health is sexual orientation.
Students who are bisexual, gay, lesbian, or who are unsure of their sexuality consistently
reported higher levels of mental health problems than heterosexual students (Oswalt)
Self-efficacy, defined by Albert Bandura, is ones belief in ones ability to succeed in
specific situations or accomplish a task. A student with low self-efficacy might believe that he or
she is incapable of being successful, and is therefore less likely to challenge him or herself.

Something talking about my general conclusions about the conversation in general, why people
should care, and where the holes in the conversation are. Overall, most of the participants in this
conversation agree that, while colleges provide resources to help students with mental health