Mental health diagnoses and treatment of college students increased substantially between 2007 and 2017, and more than one-third of students reported a diagnosed condition in 2016-2017, according to a study led by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher.
Published in Psychiatric Services, it is the largest study of its kind to date.
“This study provides empirical evidence to support a trend that many, particularly mental health practitioners on campus, have been observing anecdotally for years: that more and more college students are seeking help for their mental health,” says lead study author Dr. Sarah Lipson, assistant professor of health law, policy & management at BUSPH.
The comprehensive nationwide study drew on 10 years of data from the Healthy Minds Study, an annual web-based survey involving more than 150,000 students from 196 campuses across the U.S.
The authors found that from 2007 to 2017, mental health diagnoses increased from 22 percent to 36 percent, and that treatment increased from 19 percent to 34 percent, with similar patterns for both therapy/counseling and medication use. Suicidal ideation increased from 6 percent to 11 percent.