You can read our special report here: https://www.villanovan.com/news/special-report-mental-health-on-campus/article_95652fb8-6c16-11e9-8830-93e9dbd869d1.html
Four months ago, we set a goal for the semester: to report comprehensively on mental health on Villanova’s campus and to publish our findings. The task seemed daunting at first. We worried that few students would be willing to be interviewed about a topic that is still surrounded by so much stigma and about which genuine conversation is not commonplace. However, the existence of that stigma was also what drove us to make this piece a reality.
The statistics on college students dealing with mental health issues are staggering. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 31% of college students felt so depressed in the past year that it was difficult for them to function and more than 50% have felt overwhelming anxiety. More than 45% reported feeling that things were hopeless. This is is arguably an epidemic—and yet, it’s something that many of us rarely talk about. The implications of the stigmas that society generally consents are terrifying. 40% of students with a diagnosable mental health condition don’t seek help,and the concern of stigma is the number one reported reason why.
While college students may be mentally healthier, on average, than their matched cohort who doesn’t attend college, there is still much work to be done. Tackling this stigma starts on campuses like ours, and we believe it’s the responsibility of student-run organizations like The Villanovan to use their platforms to spread awareness, start conversations and to help spark a change.
We were overwhelmed by the number of responses when we asked students if they would be willing to be interviewed for this article. As many of the students in this piece expressed, it feels like positive change is coming. More than ever, people seem willing to speak openly about their own experiences with mental health, in the hopes of helping others.
We’re grateful to have the opportunity to share a number of student perspectives in this piece. Moving forward, we’d be happy to continue to share more perspectives through op-eds and the publication of additional articles focused on the many realms and issues within the area of mental health, as experienced by Villanova community members. You can reach us at [email protected]
Cassie McHugh and Chris Deucher