Student Life

Student Watch: Fall 2011

The college years can be a stressful time of life. Then add the weak economy and the uncertain job market, and you get a recipe for student mental-health issues.

According to “The American Freshman” report for Fall 2010, published by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, just over half (51.9 percent) of college freshmen reported that their emotional health was “above average,” dropping from 63.6 percent in 1985, the first year the question was asked in the annual survey.

Danielle Oakley, director of counseling and consultation services for the UW’s University Health Services (UHS), believes that much of the blame for this trend can be placed on the economy.

“There are a lot of students who are worried because parents are losing their jobs and they’re looking for jobs themselves on campus,” she says. “Now, those positions that used to be [filled] by college students are being taken by the person who has years of experience.”

But Oakley and UHS are making a concerted effort to help stressed-out college students.

“One of the really important things we’ve done is change the way that students get access [to counseling],” she says. “Before, you had to call and make an appointment. Now, when you’re feeling bad and you want to access our services, you just drop in.”

Published in the Fall 2011 issue


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