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Survey suggests one quarter of university and college students face mental health problems

It’s back to school for university and college students next week, and a new survey by Macleans suggests a quarter of those students are facing mental health problems.

The problems, which range from anxiety to depression, actually appear to be getting worse, according to Macleans’ assistant Editor Kate Lunau.

“Last year was the worst ever that they’d seen, more students than ever were turning up at the counselling services on campus saying that they needed help,” Lunau said.

“Ryerson University, for example, saw a 200% increase last year in students in crisis situations,” she added.

The tight job market, high tuition fees and pressure to accomplish goals are among the factors getting the blame for increased mental stress.

“The job market is really tight and they (students) are very aware of that,” Lunau said. “They are under more pressure than ever from school or home.”

Another problem for students is the lack of having perceived time to reflect.

“They really just feel like they don’t have time to find themselves and figure out what they want to do, they need to get on it now,” Lunau said.

The article is in the latest issue of Macleans, which hits newsstands Friday.

Of 1,600 University of Alberta students surveyed, nearly 51 per cent reported that, within the past 12 months, they’d “felt things were hopeless.”

Over half said they had felt “overwhelming anxiety,” while a shocking seven per cent admitted they’d “seriously considered suicide.”

Approximately one per cent of students surveyed said they had actually attempted suicide.