College Students Are Self-Reporting Increased Depression


In today’s New York Times, there’s an article discussing a recently released annual survey titled “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2014.” More than 153,000 freshmen from 227 US colleges and universities responded on a variety of topics, and the findings include:

– They were more likely to aspire to advanced degrees

– Self-rated spirituality declined

– Alcohol and tobacco use dropped substantially

The students were also asked to rate:

Their emotional health

According to the report: “students’ self-rated emotional health dropped to 50.7%, its lowest level ever and 2.3 percentage points lower than the entering cohort of 2013”

How often they felt depressed

According to the report: “the proportion of students who ‘frequently’ felt depressed rose to 9.5%, 3.4 percentage points higher than in 2009 when feeling ‘frequently’ depressed reached its lowest point”

We know that college can put students’ mental health at risk. Factors that can contribute to college students’ increased need for mental health services include:

– The transition to college life – living away from family and old friends – can be stressful for all students. The pressure to achieve academically and develop new social relationships may become overwhelming; this is true even for those students without any history of psychiatric symptoms.

– Serious mental disorders often emerge during adolescence and early adulthood.

– More young people with mental illness are able to attend college than in the past.

For our article on treating college students, click here.

New York Times article “More College Freshmen Report Having Felt Depressed”

“The American Freshman 2014”

Donna Vanderpool, MBA, JD – Vice PresidentAs Vice President of Risk Management, Ms. Vanderpool is responsible for the development and implementation of PRMS’s risk management services for The Psychiatrists’ Program. Ms. Vanderpool has developed expertise in the areas of HIPAA and forensic practice, and has consulted, written and spoken nationally on these and other healthcare law and risk management topics. She most recently wrote a chapter concerning the risks of harm to forensic experts for Robert L. Sadoff, MD’s book Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychiatry: Minimizing Harm, (Feb. 2011/Wiley). Ms. Vanderpool received her undergraduate degree from James Madison University, and her MBA and JD from George Mason University. Prior to joining PRMS in 2000, Ms. Vanderpool practiced criminal defense law, taught business and legal courses as an adjunct faculty member at a community college and spent eight years managing a general surgical practice in Virginia.

This blog has also been cross-posted on LinkedIn.

Categories: PRMS Blog, Risk Management