By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – New concerns arise about the mental health of students on college campuses all across the country.

Dr. Gene Beresin, a psychiatrist and Executive Director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital, says 50% to 60% of college students have a psychiatric disorder.

“What I’m including in that is the use of substances, anxiety, depression, problems with relationships, break-ups, academic problems, learning disabilities, attentional problems,” says Dr. Beresin. “If you add them all up 50% doesn’t seem that high.”

Some undergraduates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) agree.

“People go through tough times,” says Dane Erickson, a rising junior from Naples, Florida. “It’s really stressful sometimes here at school.”

“I know a couple of friends who had a difficult first semester last year,” explains Maddie Burgoyne, a rising sophomore from Michigan.

Dr. Beresin says the suicide rate in college in astronomical. “A college student kills himself every day,” he says.

Maddie is also concerned about the higher than average suicide rate a MIT. “I think that’s something unique to MIT,” she says, “you can’t blame the institute itself. The type of student that goes here often puts a lot of pressure on themselves.”

Dr. Beresin says the brain doesn’t fully mature until age 26 so college students are put in a difficult situation.

“Living alone, not being prepared to be on your own,” says Dr. Beresin. “Peer pressure. I mean, the ability to kind of freely use alcohol or drugs and make those decisions on your own without supervision.”

And for international students, the challenges are even greater.

“There are a lot of new factors that play when you come to college especially for international students who don’t know the area at all but yeah, it can be overwhelming at times,” explains Andrea Jaba, an MIT freshman from the Philippines.

But Andrea has at least one strategy she learned from upperclassmen to help her keep her sanity.

“You better join a lot of clubs aside from academics so you don’t drown yourself in all that stress,” says Andrea.

And some colleges are being proactive. For the first time, MIT is requiring incoming freshman to complete an online simulation program that will teach them the warning signs of depression, suicide and other psychiatric issues before starting classes.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

Comments (204)
  1. thecaldude says:

    There’s a scientific term for their mental illness. Irrational, anger-driven political correctness.

  2. Souza Michael S says:

    If you look at the government and how they operate I would guess 50% is low!

  3. Kim A Kirk says:

    It’s called liberalism.

  4. Bob Bernet says:

    I’m surprised that the suicide rate is not higher among parents due to the astronomical tuition costs. After the U.S. government got involved by guaranteeing student loans, the tuition costs suddenly skyrocketed by 10x and 20x the original tuition costs. Instead of navel-gazing the mental health of students, why not investigate the disgraceful price-gouging going on at these universities? Who knows? In the long run they may be pricing themselves out of existence as more degrees are offered online and in local communities as an affordable alternative.

  5. Storm Saxon's Gall Bladder says:

    Break-ups and relationship problems
    are counted as mental illness.
    This is about making jobs for psychology majors.

  6. FuqTheSystem says:

    Worship the religion of “science” and we’ll give you a School of Nimrod diploma.. .. and a lifetime of debt.

    Sounds great, where do I sign up?

  7. John Dendy says:

    The real problem isn’t so much the students as it is the liberal, idiotic professors.

  8. JarvisDavis says:

    The poor snowflakes will look back some day and realize they will never have it better than they did while in college.

  9. whirlwinder says:

    Sell the products, Makilla, sell the products.

  10. Tom Currie says:

    Yes, there is a name for that learned mental disorder — liberalism. A philosophy believes that all behavior is ‘relative’ and that there is no right and wrong. It is a free pass to lie, cheat and steal, excuses any behavior, and uses simple rationalization to justify the behavior without conscience. You are always the righteous hero of your own world. Wonderful, right? Wrong. Behavior has serious consequences, to your mind, to your well-being. Murder, lust, greed, betrayal, sloth, drug abuse, love of money etc… all come with serious consequences — the list is endless. Our ancestors learned this and through millenniums of experience and passed it down, and developed rules, religion, ethical codes etc.. to keep youth and others from repeating the mistakes and thus continually falling into the same old traps of human frailties — and the consequences. The obtuse thought process of liberalism is indeed a learned mental disorder that needs intense deprogramming and thoughtful recognition.

  11. Clint says:

    Pardon me, but bull****.

    Unless evolution is now going backwards—an argument I’m increasingly open to—the brain was sufficiently mature enough two hundred years ago for teenagers to be apprenticed away from home learning trades, in college taking vastly more rigorous curricula than current college students, or helping run farms and raise large families. The brain was sufficiently mature enough just seventy years ago for college-age men and women to be leading platoons in battle, flying the most modern aircraft in the most inhospitable environments, and building the most advanced equipment and weaponry seen on Earth up to that time. The reason teenagers and college students are experiencing such high degrees of stress and anxiety now isn’t because their brains are so fragile. It’s because they’ve been raised to be fragile.

    This isn’t an indictment only of parents. It’s an indictment of the entire culture that’s decided children are delicate flowers who have to be protected, rather than embryonic adults who have to be raised their entire lives to be adults, so that when they reach the chronological age of adulthood, they have the maturity level to match. The children of this country for forty years now have been raised with increasingly lowered expectations, as we bombard them with more and more random information, enabling rather than discouraging short-attention spans, and now we’re shocked, shocked, that they can’t handle the pressures of even basic college life. Safe spaces and trigger warnings are the natural consequence of this.

    And not only was it entirely predictable, it was predicted, throughout its progress, by folks who were highly criticized and ridiculed for it. The growth of the homeschool movement, the announcement of some colleges, the University of Chicago this past week, that they will not pander to students this way, are just the first shots heard ’round the world that we’re mad as hell at the infantilization of our kids, and we’re not going to take it anymore. We get the adults we raise. If we don’t raise them, we don’t get them.

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