Mental illness can interfere with education, and it is a predictor of lower rates of achievement and non-completion for college students (Auerbach et al., 2955). Despite this, many college students, particularly women and minority students, are less likely to seek help for a mental illness (Corrigan, 224). Unfortunately this results in higher rates of attrition and lower rates of success.The World Health Organization World Mental Health Survey provides important statistics relating the incidence of mental illness among college students in more than twenty countries (Auerbach et al., 2955). current estimates are that over one in five college students had an active mental illness, and over eighty three percent (83.1%) of these students began their studies with an active mental illness (Auerbach et al., 2955). The most common disorders were depression and substance abuse (Auerbach et al., 2970). Those students who had an active mental illness prior to starting their studies were the most likely to experience problems in completing their studies (Auerbach et al., 2955).
While diagnosing and treatment mental illness early would likely assist these students in achieving success in their time at college, only 16.4% of those students received any treatment at all for their mental illness (Auerbach et al., 2955). These statistics point to a preventable problem which has negative impacts on the success and studies of a sizeable population of college students. With proper screening, diagnosis and treatment more college students would be more likely to complete their studies with a higher rate of achievement (Auerbach et al., 2970).
The stigma and shame surrounding mental illness is likely a factor in many students not seeking help and treatment for their mental illnesses (Corrigan, 224). Specific populations, particularly females and minorities, may need extra supports in order to overcome stigma and access the mental healthcare which supports their success in school.
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