As depression, anxiety and even suicide become more commonplace on campus, everyone is asking: what is going on with kids?
IMFC: From your experience as an on-campus psychiatrist, what sorts of issues are young people struggling with most these days?
MIRIAM GROSSMAN: Depression and anxiety are the most common diagnoses. The most common sorts of problems are people complaining of symptoms of anxiety, which would consist of excessive worrying, inability to fall asleep at night, worrying about either academics, relationships, the future or something that has happened, and depression as well – people who have some feeling of loss, frustration, sadness, for whatever reason. Everyone is asking – educators, parents – what is going on with kids? Why are so many of them depressed and even suicidal? Why are there up to 1,100 completed suicides a year on our campuses? Most commonly the answer given is college kids are overwhelmed by the following things: Stress from academic and extracurricular responsibilities, family problems, finances and health issues. They may be concerned about things going on in politics and society, for example, for a while the job market was not good, then there are substance-abuse issues, parental expectations. I’m not questioning any of that and I’m agreeing those are all contributing issues. But I think it’s a mistake to neglect the effects on our students of the culture of casual sexual behaviour and hooking-up and of the epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases and abortion.
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