On Campus

Student depression on the rise

25% who use campus health services show symptoms of clinical depression

A quarter of students who visit university health clinics display symptoms of clinical depression, and 10 per cent report having suicidal thoughts, according to a report recently published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. Researchers from the Universities of Washington and Wisconsin and the University of British Columbia surveyed 1,600 students who had visited campus health services.

While the students were initially complaining of non-psychological symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, approximately 25 per cent agreed with statements such as “I feel sad all of the time.” Ten per cent said they had had suicidal thoughts in recent weeks. “The fact that we have one in four of our university students who go to these clinics who actually scores in the ranges for clinical depression suggests there are a lot of distressed young people out there that we’re not providing help for,” one of the study’s authors says.

Possible explanations include the reality that a university education does not necessarily lead to stable employment, and baby boomer parents who have sheltered their children. “Because of the more sheltered lives they’ve led, they have fewer coping skills,” a University of Calgary education professor says.

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