*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on HealthDay.
More than one in three first-year college students around the world struggle with a mental health disorder, new research suggests.
“The number of students who need treatment for these disorders far exceeds the resources of most counseling centers, resulting in a substantial unmet need,” said study author Randy Auerbach, of Columbia University in New York City.
“Colleges must take a greater urgency in addressing this issue,” he said in a news release from the American Psychological Association.
In the study, researchers analyzed data collected on nearly 14,000 students from 19 colleges in eight countries — Australia, Belgium, Germany, Mexico, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Spain and the United States.
The students answered questions designed to assess their mental health and identify common disorders, such as major depression, anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
The study, published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, showed that 35 percent of first-year college students experienced symptoms consistent with at least one mental health issue.
Major depressive disorder was the most common condition among the students, but many were also affected by generalized anxiety disorder.
“The finding that one-third of students from multiple countries screened positive for at least one of six mental health disorders represents a key global mental health issue,” Auerbach said.
Auerbach’s team said previous research has also found that only about 15 percent to 20 percent of college students seek help at their school’s counseling center, which may already be struggling to meet rising demand for services. So the study authors suggest that students go online to look for help, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.
“University systems are currently working at capacity and counseling centers tend to be cyclical, with students ramping up service use toward the middle of the semester, which often creates a bottleneck,” Auerbach explained.