In today’s competitive academic environment, being a student can be stressful. But managing the many responsibilities of school while struggling with a mental health issue can be even more challenging. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 1 in 6 people in the United States are diagnosed with some form of mental illness. Yet the stigma attached to mental illness prevents many from seeking the appropriate treatment, raising the need for increased awareness about mental health resources for students.

Students sitting outside on curb

Common Mental Health Issues and Resources for Students

The following are several common mental health issues that students face along with some helpful resources.

Depression

An estimated 300 million people are affected by depression globally. The condition is commonly characterized by sadness, a loss of interest and enjoyment in everyday activities, feelings of low self-worth, and poor concentration, among other symptoms. Depression is often recurrent or chronic and can manifest through physical stress on the body in various ways.

Key Facts About Depression

Rising Teen Depression

Depression in Children Ages 6-12

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Tips for Parents on Coping with a Child’s Depression Diagnosis

Anxiety

While there are many types and manifestations of anxiety, the most commonly diagnosed condition is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). People with GAD experience excessive worry and stress on more days than not for a period of at least six months. The anxiety can occur in relation to a variety of activities or events, and even simply in anticipation of situations. Common symptoms are physical discomfort, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and trouble sleeping.

Childhood Anxiety

Treating Anxiety in Children

6 Types of Anxiety in Children

What Signs of Childhood Anxiety Should Parents Look For?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety

Panic Disorder

Students with panic disorder are most commonly affected by periodic apprehension or panic attacks, which can present in a variety of ways in the body. The disorder affects about 6 million adults, or 2.7 percent of the U.S. population, and is twice as likely to affect women than men. Panic disorder can cause students to avoid social situations, as well as other varying situations, for fear of having attacks.

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment  of Panic Attacks

Identifying Panic Attacks in Children

Home Management Strategies for Panic Disorder

Effect of Childhood Trauma and Panic Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD can manifest in obsessions or compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted thoughts that dominate the mind; they often originate in the mind and are not caused by an external situation. A compulsion is the inability to resist doing something. OCD affects 2.2 million adults, or 1 percent of the U.S. population, and typically begins at a young age.

4 Things Parents Get Wrong About OCD (Podcast)

Guide to Helping Your Child with OCD (PDF)

Why Childhood OCD Is Invisible

How OCD Differs in Children and Adults

Childhood Moral OCD

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects about 3.5 percent of the U.S. population. People exposed to various situations are at risk for PTSD, including survivors of childhood sexual and emotional abuse; survivors of war, violence, and torture; and survivors of accidents and disasters. It can commonly affect people who have experienced life-threatening illnesses and traumatic childbirth, as well as members of the military and first responders.

Psychotherapies and PTSD

PTSD in Ages 6 and Under

PTSD from Domestic Violence and Childhood Abuse

PTSD and Suicidal Tendencies in Kids

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) causes significant fear in social situations, which often results in distress and the inability to function. SAD is often associated with a fear of being embarrassed or judged by peers and various insecurities. Typically, SAD begins during adolescence and often goes untreated because it isn’t as widely recognized as a disorder as other common psychological disabilities.  

How to Help Kids with Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety at Preschool Age

Signs of Social Anxiety Disorder

Parenting with Social Anxiety

Phobias

A phobia is defined as an extreme and persistent fear of a specific object or situation that is out of proportion to the actual danger or threat. Phobias affect nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population, and typically, symptoms begin during childhood. Phobias can be related to a variety of real and theoretical situations but are usually grouped into a number of subtypes, including animal, natural environment, and situational.

Symptoms of Phobias

Age-by-Age Guide to Phobias for Kids

Types of Phobias

Distinctions Between Phobias and Anxiety

Bipolar Disorder

People affected by bipolar disorder experience periods of mania and depression. When manic, they may feel anxious, possibly more capable of achieving realistic or unrealistic things, or a decreased need to sleep. When depressed, they experience typical symptoms of depression but may experience it at a level that affects their personal and professional relationships and responsibilities in a more serious way. Bipolar disorder causes extreme swings between these moods or states of being.

Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Early Onset Bipolar FAQ

Reducing the Stigma of Bipolar Disorder

Substance Abuse Disorder

Substance abuse, or substance abuse disorder, is characterized as a disease that causes an individual to become unable to control their use of drugs or alcohol, despite it making them sick or causing them harm. People develop a tolerance to drugs and alcohol when under the frequent influence of them, and begin using higher doses or amounts of it to feel well.

Definition and Symptoms of Substance Use Disorder

Common Signs of Addiction

Treatments for Substance Abuse Disorders

students standing against wall

Hotlines for Students in Need