What colleges are doing to address students' unprecedented levels of stres
At freshman orientation at Cal State Northridge in August, students got information about the new wellness center, which offers acupuncture, massage therapy and drop-in yoga.
(Ricardo De Aratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Ye Seong Kim's freshman year at UCLA was so stressful that she considered dropping out and attending a community college until she was better prepared.
"After struggling and studying so hard, it seemed like it wasn't paying off and I wasn't getting the grades," said Kim, 21. "I wasn't enjoying the subjects and I was thinking maybe this isn't what I want. It made me wonder why I was here."
The biochemistry major overcame those anxieties and has entered her fourth year at the West wood campus. But the questions she hears now as an advisor for new students resonate deeply: Will I be homesick? How will I make new friends? What if I ask a dumb question in class?
Those fear-inducing uncertainties are why UCLA and colleges and universities around the country increasingly look to boost not just academics, but the mind, body and soul of students who report unprecedented levels of stress and depression.
A report last year by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State showed that rates of self-harm and suicidal thoughts have increased among students seeking mental health services at colleges. One out of three have seriously considered suicide and one out of 10 have made a suicide attempt, according to the report. Almost half of the students reported that academic performance was a main cause of mental distress.