Are Mental Health Issues Common in College Students?


It’s easy to think of college as an easy, stress-free time where young adults are having fun, meeting new people, and enjoying a bit of “freedom” before stepping into the real world.

But, that’s really only true for the colleges portrayed in movies.

While college is absolutely a fun and exciting time, it can also be incredibly stressful. According to the National Education Association, more than 60% of college students meet the criteria for at least one mental health issue.

Mental health issues are common in college students for a variety of reasons. Whether you’re about to head off to college, you’re currently enrolled, or you’re a parent worried about what to expect, let’s dig a little deeper.

Pressure to Succeed

For many, college is the last step before heading into the real world. But, that can come with enormous pressure.

Many students go through high school trying to get grades that will help them get into a quality college. But, once you’re enrolled in college, your grades feel different. You might not be as concerned about the letter you’re getting, but there’s a deeply-rooted pressure to succeed.

Plus, simply put—classes are harder in college. Young adults might have to work harder than they ever have before just to get a passing grade.

The pressure to succeed comes from a fear of the future and wanting a stable career. It also often stems from the amount of money being spent at school. If you’re a college student spending thousands of dollars each semester on an education, “failing” doesn’t feel like an option.

While feeling pressure to succeed can be a motivational tool, it can also go too far. It might lead to extra stress and anxiety.


We often associate loneliness and isolation issues with older individuals. But, college students can be just as susceptible to feeling isolated.

For many, it’s the first time they’re away from home and most of the familiar things and people they love.

Loneliness can lead to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. It can also increase a person’s risk of suicide or self-harm, as well as addiction. Those are already prominent issues many college students face. Adding another layer to those issues can make them feel hopeless and helpless.

Burning Out

Because there’s often such pressure to succeed in college, it’s not uncommon for some students to overwork themselves. That includes taking on too much, academically. But, it also includes trying to get involved in too many things.

There’s no shortage of opportunities in a collegiate setting. There are clubs, groups, organizations, teams, and everything in between. You’re bound to find something that piques your interest. Joining the right group can even help to introduce you to lifelong friends.

But, some students take things too far by joining too many things, thinking it might look good on a resume. That can lead to so much stress that it causes burnout, anxiety, or depression.

Relationship Issues

Friendships can be rocky in college. If a student chooses to live on campus, they’ll be thrust into a dorm room with at least one other person. Those relationships aren’t always healthy.

It’s also a time when young adults are expected to meet new people through classes, clubs, and other daily interactions, but it’s not always easy. Some people struggle to “fit in.” Others will develop friendships that end up being toxic. Some will get their hearts broken in romantic relationships.

While some of these situations are all part of the process of growing, they can take a toll on a person’s mental health.

If you or someone you know in college is struggling with mental health issues, don’t hesitate to reach out for help immediately. Most campuses across the country have mental health resources available that can help. If yours doesn’t, feel free to contact me to set up an appointment.

Mental Health Counseling and Therapy for College Students in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Online in Arizona

May is Mental Health Awareness Month!  Every week during the month of May Crossroads Counseling will post a new mental health blog to increase awareness of mental health and counseling resources in PhoenixScottsdale, and online in Arizona.

To talk to a mental health professional about starting counseling or therapy please feel free to learn more about our practice by visiting our about pageFAQ, and blog, or read more about our staff members to start finding your best therapeutic fit!  Call us at 623-680-3486, text 623-688-5115, or email for more information!

    1. Contact Crossroads Counseling for a complimentary 20-minute phone consult
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