Here’s the grim news from a new report conducted by Barnes & Noble College Insights: Generation Z is suffering from a crushing amount of stress in the college years, more than any other generation before it (hey, no snorting or scoffing over there, Boomers and Gen X). What’s going on, and more importantly, how can we parents help mitigate the mental health challenges Gen Z is facing during their university years?
Let’s go back to the report, titled “Mental Health & Well-Being on Campus: How We Better Care for the Whole Student,” released by a branch of Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. The report surveyed current college students as well as their parents to get a broad sense of the state of mental health among college and university students today.
The report’s findings were sobering indeed, showing that today’s college students feel pushed and pulled by numerous factors in their lives, including (but not limited to) academic expectations they’ve set for themselves, academic expectations they feel have been set for them by others, the volatile current political climate, money worries, and social anxieties.
Three experts are cited in the report: Daniel Eisenberg, Ph.D., Healthy Minds Network, University of Michigan; Victor Schwartz, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of The Jed Foundation; Ron Goldman, co-founder and CEO of Kognito.
There were four major takeaways from the study that we think parents of college-bound Gen Z youth should definitely know.
Those are some serious stats. And while the study also showed that these mental health obstacles didn’t necessarily correlate with academic failure, “additional research from the Healthy Minds Study shows that when students have high levels of mental health problems… they are about twice as likely to depart the institution before graduation,” according to Eisenberg. That’s pretty scary.
Goldman feels the conversations need to be between students and their parents as well as between students and their school staff. “It is … critical that mental health initiatives at universities and colleges go beyond building awareness of the impact of psychological distress and begin to train and empower their faculty, staff and students with the confidence and communication skills to seek help and effectively approach those in need to provide support and motivation to connect with available help.”
Indeed, just search Twitter for “college stress” and you’ll find a thousand memes like this:
In short? Take your Gen Z youth seriously; their college complaints are no joke. It’s a difficult world out there, and they need you more than ever. And if you’re looking for some actually-useful college advice to give your teen on their journey, we’ve got you covered.
Originally published on SheKnows.
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