By Jamison Monroe, Jr.
In 2013, President Obama proclaimed May as National Mental Health Awareness Month in an effort to cast a brighter spotlight on this issue and on the challenges faced by the millions of Americans — as many as one in four adults, and 20 percent of teenagers — who live with a mental health condition.
May also happens to be the most stressful month of the year for college students, when finals week only intensifies the pressure many feel year-round to perform at the top of their game both academically and socially. Add those stresses to rifts in family relationships and communication, plus the lack of support and connectedness that students can feel at college, and the results can be dire. At MIT, this crisis may have contributed to the suicides of six students during the last 14 months. But this critical situation is not limited to top-level colleges: The American College Health Association’s 2014 survey showed that more than 30 percent of college students nationwide reported feeling “so depressed that it was difficult to function” at least once during the past year; 54 percent experienced overwhelming anxiety; and 8 percent seriously considered suicide.
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