Student mental health distress has escalated to high levels nationally. The American College Health Association found in 2019 that over the past year, 87% of college students felt overwhelmed by all they had to do, 66% felt overwhelming anxiety, 56% felt things were hopeless and 13% seriously considered suicide. Contributing factors include distressing and traumatic circumstances during college, such as assaults, in addition to academic performance demands.
The college experience is not the only factor, however. Students are also coming to college with preexisting mental health challenges. For instance, over 80% of students who think about suicide during college had first thought about suicide before college.
Teenage Brains Run on Raw Emotion
Research explains why that isn’t necessarily a bad thing
” The biggest social movements today — including protests for climate change and gun regulation — were sparked by teenagers. And while teens are often belittled as vaping TikTok fanatics, recent research suggests the passion and commitment of adolescent activists such as climate activist Greta Thunberg, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, and the gun-control crusaders from Parkland, Florida in part reflect the unique nature of the teenage brain.
The idea that human brains don’t fully mature until people are in their early to midtwenties — which has become the consensus belief among scientists over the past 15 years — was initially used to explain all manner of troublesome teen behavior. It provided a biology-based explanation of why adolescents are impulsive, highly emotional, and vulnerable to various forms of addiction.
But more recently, researchers have started to emphasize that those same phases of brain development that may encourage risk-taking behaviors can also drive teens to impressive heights. Channeled wisely, the impulses that emerge from the adolescent brain can be extremely valuable — for the kids, their societies, and perhaps the planet…..”