6 Major Mental Health Challenges for Today’s Students Blog | 6 Major Mental Health Challenges for Today’s Students
Mental Health 12/13/21

6 Major Mental Health Challenges for Today’s Students

As social expectations shift and the pressure to succeed mounts, college students often experience mental and emotional challenges. School counselors today have many more students in their care than they did just a few years ago, with more complex issues than the students of 5 or 10 years ago.  In college especially, the need for mental health services can increase by 30-40% due to overwhelming stress and anxiety. Adding the anxiety of living through a global pandemic to these already mounting expectations has increased the severity of pre-existing conditions or introduced new, unexpected challenges for many college students.

6 Major Mental Health Challenges for Today’s Students

1. Depression and Other Mood Disorders

Depression is one of the most common health conditions affecting students today. Because school can be very demanding, young people may struggle to make time for self-care or activities that they enjoy. Oftentimes, students are also just learning to cook and care for themselves, which can cause them to feel overwhelmed, give them feelings of inadequacy, or result in nutrient deficiencies that may lead to depression. Sometimes, depression also occurs for no identifiable reason at all.

People experiencing depression will suffer from persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, despondency, and a loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. Depression can be episodic or persistent; sufferers of depression may also experience insomnia or sleep disturbances, difficulty focusing or completing work, changes in appetite, as well as unexplained aches and pains.

Common Mood Disorders In Students

Mood disorders that commonly affect students include:

  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  • Cyclothymic Disorder
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)
  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

2. Anxiety

As might be expected, anxiety is in high supply on college campuses. While experiencing some anxiety under pressure is healthy and normal, when the condition becomes chronic, severe, or begins interfering with daily life, intervention becomes necessary. Symptoms of anxiety can include persistent fearfulness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, shortness of breath, headaches, sweating, dizziness, upset stomach, diarrhea, and muscle pain.

Chronic anxiety can lead to students missing class, avoiding social situations, or even turning to substances to deal with the symptoms. Some students with anxiety may display physical signs of panic attacks and anxiety, while others may have “high-functioning” anxiety which can look more like perfectionism and may actually be “helping” them in terms of school performance, despite harming them mentally and emotionally.

Anxiety Disorders to Look Out for:

Students experiencing chronic anxiety may be struggling with an anxiety disorder. Types of anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder
  • Agoraphobia

3. Eating Disorders (ED)

The challenges of college life can cause at-risk students to develop eating disorders. While female students more commonly struggle with this mental health condition (between 10 and 20% of college-aged women reportedly suffer from eating disorders), male students are not immune (between 4 and 10% of college-aged men suffer from eating disorders). ED can stem from low self-esteem or a need for control; these disorders are serious and potentially deadly.

While many students will experiment with restrictive dieting or fad diets in their college years, not all students who diet will develop eating disorders. However, college-aged students are the demographic most at-risk for developing full-blown eating disorders.

Eating Disorders That Can Affect Students:

Some common types of eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Binge-Eating Disorder
  • Pica

4. Addictions/Substance Abuse

Unfortunately, recreational alcohol and drug use is something that is too often normalized for college students. Whether at campus parties, clubs or at the bar, many youths begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol during their late teens and early 20’s. Because this behavior is almost encouraged, your students may be susceptible to developing addictions or exacerbating existing addiction issues.

In addition to using drugs and alcohol to party, some students in college begin experimenting with stimulants and prescription medications such as Adderall. These drugs are sometimes used by students in an attempt to increase productivity or alertness when faced with an overwhelming workload. This misuse of prescription drugs can be both dangerous and habit-forming, so it’s essential to stay abreast of this issue.

Common Substances Used by Students:

In college, students may begin experimenting with and abusing the following substances:

  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Stimulants such as Adderall and nicotine
  • Party drugs such as MDMA (a.k.a “Molly”) or ecstasy
  • Hallucinogens such as LSD, acid, and mushrooms

5. Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD)

Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is a condition related to PTSD, with some of the core symptoms of PTSD plus its own unique symptomatology. The condition is not diagnosable, as it is not included in the fifth edition of the DSM-5. It can often be mistaken for a mood disorder, since one of its tell-tale symptoms, emotional flashbacks (flashbacks to traumatic experiences that present without visuals), may seem like sudden “mood swings”.

The added stress of school and socializing with other students can trigger and exacerbate C-PTSD symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Emotional dysregulation
  • Emotional flashbacks
  • Hypervigilance
  • Chronic feelings of fear, anger, and resentment
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness or hopelessness
  • Chronic feelings of being misunderstood
  • Negative perceptions of self
  • Either avoiding interpersonal relationships or engaging in unhealthy relationships
  • Feeling easily “triggered” by other people
  • Dissociation (i.e. depersonalization, derealisation)
  • Suicidal ideation

What Causes C-PTSD

C-PTSD is caused by prolonged exposure to trauma or experiencing multiple traumas. Additionally, C-PTSD can also result from trauma experienced at an early age, that was enacted by someone close and trusted (such as a relative or family friend), or which was impossible to escape from. Growing up in an abusive home can normalize traumatic situations, so abuse sometimes goes unnoticed, even by its survivors. C-PTSD is the indelible mark that abuse leaves.

The types of traumatic events that can cause complex PTSD include:

  • Childhood abuse, including physical, emotional, sexual, or spiritual abuse
  • Childhood neglect and/or abandonment
  • Ongoing domestic violence or abuse (witnessed or experienced)

6. Suicidal Ideation

Many of the conditions described above can result in imagining or planning one’s own death, especially if left untreated. Unfortunately, suicide is one of the leading causes of death in youth ages 15-19. Overwhelming, persistent, or highly detailed suicidal thoughts are considered a mental health crisis and require immediate medical intervention.

Common warning signs of suicidal ideation will appear in someone’s speech, mood, and behavior. It is important that school counselors be aware of the signs of suicidal ideation so proper intervention can be enacted quickly. We recommend memorizing the signs listed below, as your students’ lives depend on it.

Signs of Suicidal Thoughts in Speech and Behavior:

If a student expresses the following thoughts, they are at risk and require immediate intervention:

  • Being a burden or feeling trapped
  • Experiencing unbearable pain
  • Having no reason to live
  • Wanting to kill themselves

If a student engages in the following behavior, they are at risk and require immediate intervention:

  • Increased drug or alcohol use
  • Reckless behavior
  • Withdrawal from activities and isolation from friends, family, etc.
  • Oversleeping or insomnia
  • Aggression
  • Giving away possessions or visiting/calling loved ones to say goodbye
  • Researching methods for committing suicide, including looking for materials or means

Signs of Suicidal Thoughts in Mood:

Suicidal ideation may look like other mental and emotional health conditions, as thoughts of suicide often occur in conjunction with another condition. If a student is considering suicide, it is likely they will display one or more of the following moods:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Apathy
  • Irritability
  • Humiliation
  • Rage

Suicide Prevention

If you or someone you know is showing signs of suicidal ideation, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text HELLO to the Crisis Text Line (741741). The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Crisis Text Line can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Calls and texts are completely free of charge. All calls are confidential.

Professional and General Liability Insurance for School Counselors

Therapists, school counselors, and other mental health practitioners are at-risk for having potential claims of malpractice filed against them due to the sensitive nature of their responsibilities. School counselors could receive claims of a perceived failure to treat a student’s condition or a data breach of student files, for example. In order to protect yourself from the risk of potential claims, securing appropriate liability insurance is a critical career move.

If deemed to be responsible for the occurrence of damages, you could be forced to pay out-of-pocket if you don’t have proper insurance in place. This could significantly impact your personal financial security. NOW insurance provides mental health practitioners with coverage that will pay for a variety of costs including defense costs, damages, further investigations and accidents depending on your insurance policy. All practitioners whether employed or self-employed should secure professional liability (also known as medical malpractice) and if you are a therapist with your own practice, we recommend general liability insurance, too.

College students face an overwhelming amount of stress and anxiety due, sometimes, to a lack of coping skills or preparation for the workload and social pressures of college life. This has caused an increase in the demand for mental healthcare specialists. If you’re a therapist or counselor looking to take out a General Liability Insurance plan or other coverage, get a quote today from NOW Insurance in under 3 minutes with our easy online application. Insurance from NOW is simple, fast and affordable.

Contact us with questions about coverage.

Blog

Tips for protecting yourself and your business.

General

10 Ways Mental Health Can Affect Relationships: What Marriage Counselors Should Know

Consultants

What Is Typically Covered by Freelance Insurance?

News

Video Interview with Phil Cabaud and Celent Analyst, Andrew Schwartz

News

NOW Insurance Wins Celent Model Insurer for Customer Experience Transformation

Cyber

6 Reasons Medical Professionals Need to Understand Cyber Liability

Consultants

Quitting Your Day Job? 5 Things You Need as a Freelancer or Consultant

Consultants

Are You a Freelance Consultant? You May Be Unknowingly at Risk

Nurses

Continuing Education Round-up for Nurse Practitioners

Mental Health

6 Major Mental Health Challenges for Today’s Students

Nurses

In-Demand Nurse Practitioner Specialties for 2022

Mental Health

Why Home Health Care Can Have a Positive Impact on Mental Health

Consultants

Consultant Insurance: What Kind of Consultants Should Get Coverage?

Mental Health

Why Clinical Counselors Need to Care for Their Own Mental Health, Too

Nurses

Celebrating Nurse Practitioner Week: Nov. 7-13

Consultants

Insurance for Freelancers: 7 Reasons Not to Risk Going Without Coverage

Lab Technician

Four Ways to Reduce Risk for Medical Labs in COVID Era

Healthcare

Malpractice Insurance FAQs: What Is a “Retro Date”?

Pharmacy

Why You Should #ThankAPharmacist This Month

Mental Health

Why School Counselors Should Consider Malpractice Insurance

Consultants

Pros and Cons of Working from Home in 2021

Insurance Basics

Am I Legally Required to Get Small Business Insurance?

Occupational Therapy

Liability Risks for Occupational Therapists

Insurance Basics

What Are the Exclusions on a General Liability Insurance Policy?

Nurses

Nurse Liability Insurance: 7 Reasons to Get a Policy Even If Your Workplace Is Covered

Lab Technician

Four Common Mistakes Lab Techs Make

Pharmacy

Upskilling and Reskilling in Pharmacy

Insurance Basics

How Can I Reduce My Professional Liability Insurance Cost?

Healthcare

Is Administrative Staff Covered by Medical Malpractice Insurance?

Mental Health

What Can Happen if a Clinical Counselor Doesn’t Carry Malpractice Insurance?

Mental Health

Mental Health Technicians Are More Important Than Ever in 2021

Mental Health

Why Every Counselor Should Have Malpractice Insurance (Even If You’re Just Starting Out)

Consultants

Five Reasons Why Marketing Consultants Need Insurance

Speech Therapist

Speech Therapist Insurance: What Do You Need to Cover?

Insurance Basics

General Liability and Workers’ Comp: What’s the difference?

Event Planning

What You Need to Know About Planning Your Comeback Event

Event Planning

Top Tech Tools for Hosting a Hybrid Event

Mental Health

Are You at Risk? Four Potential Liabilities When You’re an Uninsured Drug Counselor

Consultants

Consulting in the Tech Field? This is the Insurance Coverage You Need

Event Planning

How to Use Virtual Reality for Your Hybrid Event

News

Bold Penguin and NOW Insurance Partner to Make Professional Liability Insurance Easier to Quote and Bind

News

Matt Higgins Joins NOW Insurance as Executive VP of Engineering

Event Planning

Planning a Conference? You Need Event Insurance

Consultants

Five Steps to Buying Consultant Business Insurance

Nurses

Nursing Board Discipline: Know the Process

Event Planning

Eight Things Commonly Forgotten by Event Planners

Event Planning

Hybrid Events Are the New Norm – What Should Event Planners Know?

General

How Much Is Professional Liability Insurance? 6 Factors That Affect Price

Mental Health

Providing Peace of Mind: Insurance for Mental Health Workers

Mental Health

7 Reasons Rehabilitation Counselors Should Get Malpractice Insurance

Pharmacy

Pharmacy Technician: What’s Next?

Consultants

Common Mistakes When Starting a Consulting Business

Mental Health

8 Reasons a Family Counselor Should Be Insured

Mental Health

Professional Liability Insurance for Mental Health Technicians: What Does It Cover?

News

NOW Insurance Partners with Hiscox on Medical Malpractice Insurance

Healthcare

What to Know About Multi-State Healthcare Licensure

Healthcare

6 Risks of Being a Substance Abuse Counselor Without Malpractice Insurance

Healthcare

What Are the Best Upskilling Opportunities in Healthcare?

Healthcare

How Virtual Care Expands Access to Specialists

General

Thinking of Becoming a Therapist? 5 Things to Know

Healthcare

Do School Counselors Need Their Own Insurance Policy?

Healthcare

5 Rewards of Being a Mental Health Technician

Home Health

What are Key Compliance Issues in Home Healthcare?

Home Health

The Home Hospital: What Is It and How Will It Affect Future Care?

Healthcare

What Challenges Should School Counselors Expect as Schools Reopen?

Pharmacy

Sharing the Workload: Questions You Can Ask Your Pharmacist Instead of Your Doctor

Healthcare

5 Situations Where Testing Labs May Be Legally at Risk

Healthcare

Do Marriage Counselors Need Professional Liability Insurance?

Healthcare

8 Malpractice Insurance Terms Every Medical Professional Should Know

Healthcare

Social Worker Insurance: Do I Need My Own Coverage?

Mental Health

Pandemic Pressures Drive Increased Need for Mental Health Technicians

Nurses

Celebrate National Student Nurse Day on May 8

Nurses

National Nurses Week: Celebrate May 6-12

Healthcare

Why Nursing Students Need their Own Professional Liability Policy

Home Health

How to Find Affordable Professional Liability Insurance for Home Health Providers

Healthcare

5 Benefits to a Career as a Pharmacy Technician

Healthcare

How Digital Pharmacies Will Change the Industry

Healthcare

How to Become A Pharmacy Technician

Healthcare

Supporting Providers in the Age of Telehealth

Healthcare

12 Keys to Finding the Best Physical Therapist Insurance

Healthcare

When Are Lab Technicians Liable? Five Reasons to Carry Professional Liability Insurance

Healthcare

What Is and Isn’t Covered by Malpractice Insurance?

Healthcare

Why COVID Testing Labs Should Carry General Liability Insurance

Healthcare

Do Occupational Therapists Need Malpractice Insurance?

Healthcare

Can Lab Technicians Be Sued for Malpractice?

Cyber

5 Reasons Cyber Security Insurance Is Becoming More Important Than Ever

Healthcare

What Sort of Insurance Will Cover Physical Therapists?

Cyber

Helping Hesitant Patients Embrace Telehealth

Cyber

Why COVID Testing Labs Should Have Cyber Security Insurance in Case of a Data Breach

Nurses

GI Nurses and Associates Week: Highlight A GI Nurse Hero March 21-27

Nurses

What Malpractice Risks Do GI Nurses Face?

Nurses

What Kind of Nurse Should You Be? Check Out the Growing Field of Gastroenterology

Healthcare

6 Risks Lab Technicians Face Without Professional Liability Insurance

Healthcare

Do Contact Tracers Need to Protect Themselves with Professional Liability Insurance?

Cyber

Telehealth Rules Relaxed During Pandemic

Cyber

Telehealth is More Than Just Video Appointments

Healthcare

Pharmacists: Which Specialty Is Right for You?

Healthcare

Sued for Malpractice: A Guide for Nurses and NPs

Healthcare

A Guide to Medical Director Insurance and the Costs

Healthcare

2021 Trends to Look for in Occupational Therapy

Healthcare

Become a COVID-19 Contact Tracer

Healthcare

How Much Does Physician Assistant Malpractice Insurance Cost?

Healthcare

Lab Technicians: Is a Travel Job Right for You?

Home Health

Why Your Agency Needs Home Healthcare Insurance

Lab Technician

Covering Covid-19: Is Your Medical Laboratory at Risk?

Healthcare

A Complete Guide to Insurance for Physical Therapists

Healthcare

The Costs of Medical Staffing Agency Insurance

Home Health

Why Start a Non-medical Home Care Business

Healthcare

IV Nurse Day: Celebrate Jan 25

Healthcare

How to Become an IV Nurse

Healthcare

Charting by Exception: Errors by Omission or The Efficient New Norm?

Healthcare

Are You a Culturally Competent Nurse?

Healthcare

Risks of Abbreviations in Nurse Charting

Home Health

A Guide to Starting a Home Healthcare Business

Nurses

Nurses and The Good Samaritan Law

Cyber

Cyber Liability and HIPAA Compliance

Cyber

Why Hackers Love Healthcare Data

Cyber

Ransomware Rampant in Among Small Businesses

Cyber

What is the cost of a data breach?

General

NOW Insurance closes $2.5 million seed round, enhances AI-enabled platform

Cyber

Cost of a HIPAA Violation

Cyber

How to Create a Small Business Cyber Security Plan

Cyber

Small Business and Cloud Storage: Is Your Data Secure?

Cyber

Social Engineering: 7 Common Red Flags

Event Planning

Getting Liability Insurance for Events

Event Planning

Starting an Event Planning Business: A to Z

Event Planning

How Much Does Event Planning Insurance Cost?

Event Planning

Insurance for Event Planners: What You Need to Know

Event Planning

What’s Included in Event Planning Insurance Coverage?

Insurance Basics

What Can a Tax Preparer Be Held Liable For?

Insurance Basics

Tax Preparer Insurance 101

Medical Staffing

4 Nurse Staffing Issues to Avoid

General

What You Need to Know to Be a Tax Preparer

Insurance Basics

Insurance for Bookkeepers: A Complete Guide

Medical Staffing

How to Start a Nurse Staffing Agency

Insurance Basics

What is Liability Insurance for Bookkeepers?

General

How to Build Customer Relations in Your Business

Medical Staffing

A Guide to Medical Staffing Insurance

General

Developing an Effective Risk Management Plan

Insurance Basics

All You Need to Know About Therapist Insurance

Mental Health

What is Malpractice Insurance for Counselors?

Mental Health

Benefits of Therapist Liability Insurance

Insurance Basics

What’s the Average Counselor Malpractice Insurance Cost?

Insurance Basics

Risk and Hazards of Being a Massage Therapist

Insurance Basics

Do Nutritionists Need Insurance?

Insurance Basics

What’s Included In Massage Insurance Coverage?

Insurance Basics

Everything You Need to Know About Malpractice Insurance Coverage For Nutritionists

Insurance Basics

Do Massage Centers Need Insurance?

Insurance Basics

How Much Does Nutritionist Insurance Cost?

Insurance Basics

Insurance Plans For Nutritionists: Everything You Need to Know

Insurance Basics

Massage Therapy Insurance: A Beginner’s Guide

General

Coronavirus Outbreak: 3 Tips to Keep Your Healthcare Business Safe

General

Company Working From Home? Stay Safe of Cyber Attacks

Insurance Basics

Business Interruption Insurance and Coronavirus

General

4 Best Practices for Medical Workers During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Insurance Basics

Inside the Hacker’s Mind – Social Engineering

Insurance Basics

Do Consultants Need Insurance?

Insurance Basics

Fitness Center & Gym Insurance: A Beginner’s Guide

General

Should Your Company Work From Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Insurance Basics

Why Your Business Needs Wellness and Fitness Insurance: A Comprehensive Guide

Insurance Basics

What Is the Cost of Gym Insurance?

Insurance Basics

What Insurance Do Consultants Need?

Consultants

How Much Is Insurance For a Consultant?

Consultants

Benefits of Consulting Insurance Coverage

Healthcare

Pay as You Go Insurance for Healthcare Professionals

General

You Have Your Physician Assistant’s License: Now What?

Healthcare

Why Are You Still Buying Occurrence Malpractice Coverage?

Healthcare

What Does Malpractice Insurance Cost?

General

Physician Assistant Malpractice Coverage: A Practical Guide

Nurses

Do Student Nurses Need Malpractice Insurance?

Nurses

Ouch, You Hurt Me! Do Nurse Practitioners Need Their Own Malpractice Policy?

Nurses

What Type of Insurance Do Nurses Need?

Insurance Basics

Understanding Insurance Terms: Back to Basics

General

What Does Professional Liability Insurance Cover?

General

Types of Insurance Available for Small Business Owners

General

Potential Small Business Risks

General

General Liability Insurance: How to Keep your Business Protected

General

Choosing a Business Insurance Provider: Everything You Need to Know

General

Business Insurance Plans – Do I Need One?

General

Benefits of Professional Liability Insurance

General

What Is the Average Cost of Errors and Omissions Insurance?

General

What Is Cyber Liability Insurance?

General

What Does Errors and Omissions Insurance Cover?

Cyber

Cyber Insurance 101: Why You Need It

Cyber

What Does a Cyber Liability Policy Cover?

General

Errors and Omissions Coverage: What Is It & How Does it Work?

Cyber

What Is the Average Cost of Cyber Liability Insurance?

General

Who Needs Errors and Omissions Coverage?