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Hailey Turpin
UWRT 1102-009
Deby Jizi
12 April 2016

In picking a research topic, we did a lot of inquiry on happiness in my writing class. We
took a survey titled “Do you use your phone as a distraction from your problems?” and over half
of the class said they did. It got me thinking ‘why do we use them as a distraction, and what are
the problems that are causing us to worry?’ I am very interested in the psychological and mental
problems that are affecting the students at UNC Charlotte, and all across the nation and globe,
and knowing that I deal with anxiety, I expected others to deal with problems too. So, I decided
to make my topic of inquiry the mental illnesses that college students face. My main question
that is related to this issue is “What are the issues college students are facing, and why are they
dealing with the problems?” My anxiety has always been social until I came to college, where I
could catch my heart rate up or shakiness in my hands, arms or legs, either from a certain stressor
or for no reason at all. In college I’ve had more panic attacks, which is mentally and physically
exhausting. I believe I have a little bit of prior life experience, and with myself being in college, I
can use my own experiences to infer why these mental health problems are a problem, and how
to bring more awareness to them. I hope to find out what specific stressors are causing students
to live and develop terrible diseases while at a university, and what we as students and as a
university can do.

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In a study conducted by NAMI (Darcy/), of the 59 percent of current students attending
various colleges, 27 percent suffer from depression, while 24 percent suffer from Bipolar
disorder, 12 percent with other diseases such as personality, eating, and obsessive-compulsive
disorders, 11 percent anxiety, 6 percent schizophrenia/PTSD, 5 percent ADHD and 1 percent
with a substance abuse disorder. In the same study, 64 percent of students are no longer going to
college because of a mental health related problem. We as a society don’t acknowledge mental
health issues as important, and people who have mental health issues are often viewed as ‘weak’
or ‘attention-seeking’, when in reality face their minds fighting against them on a daily basis. In
recent years on college campuses everywhere, the mental health stigma is being attacked and
students have become more aware of the problems that most Americans face. My personal
research into this topic is significant because I want to help others with the mental health issues
that arise in a person’s life, specifically in the lives of students that are the next generation of
leaders, businessmen and women, police force, or everyday people. We are the next generation of
people, and our mental states affect what the future of Earth will look like. I want to help change
the world by understanding why the brain does what it does, to better educate others and work
towards a better future for all of us.
Justin Hunt and Daniel Eisenberg (Mental) discovered in a recent journal published from
their research that “…more than one in three undergraduates reported “feeling so depressed it
was difficult to function” at least once in the previous year.” Later in the journal, they state that
mental health problems can be different among demographics, and social behaviors, and even
less evidence can be found on how they affect students in college. When universities around the
US were surveyed, there was shown to be a 95% increase of severe psychological problems
among students attending a university. From this, we can look at the many specific factors that

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can affect mental health on a college campus, including looking a certain health providers, the
universities availability of resources to help students dealing with these issues, substance abuse,
and college course load. This research that has been done on the topic is very relatable because
of the ‘college lifestyle’. As a college student, I have the experience and the upper hand when it
comes to stress and strain on mental health. Truly, no one thing can be the sole reason for mental
health problems in college, but rather a mix up of many factors like school course load, social
life, personal hygiene, new responsibilities (i.e. doing laundry when it needs to be done, planning
a personal budget, keeping one’s self accountable for appointments/meetings, etc.). We deal with
many stressors at one time, which the majority has never experienced, and needs effective coping
skills to continue to thrive and succeed at a higher level education.
I read in another article from the American College Health Association (Jackson)
different findings about general health, academic impacts, sexual behavior, sleep, and many other
events that can happen during a time at a university. In the study, 47.4 percent of students said
that academics have felt traumatic or difficult to handle in the past year, while 25.4 percent said
career related issues, 30.7 percent intimate relationships, and many more. With my curiosity, and
with the knowledge of my own mental health issues, I also looked closely at the percentages of
people who felt overwhelming anxiety. 31.8 percent of people said that they never experienced
overwhelming anxiety, however a total or 22.1 percent said they had experienced anxiety in the
last two weeks. Along with these ideas, 8.1 percent of people surveyed had considered suicide in
the last 12 months before the study was conducted. When I look at these statistics, I am able to
put real people into those statistics, and can relate it to the people around me and on my college
campus. Seeing these numbers makes me feel very helpless, and I want to use this research so I

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can better educate others and also educate myself of the real problems that the students around
me are facing, so I can better help others to cope.
Along with all of the research done for this topic, we can also compare our lives along
with the statistics and understand maybe more about our own lives. The most significant way to
learn more about the types of mental health problems and what we can do to help those around
us affected by them is to share our own experiences with the people around us, and
understanding that you are not the only one affected from a certain mental health issue. We as
humans are complex –from a psychological, biological and molecular level—and the more we
understand individually that we share similar problems with others, we are able to break the
stigma put in place by society, giving way to the opportunity for more research and interest in the
For this topic, what I hope to find out is why in today’s society there is still a stigma for
mental health, and how it relates to college students and their futures, and what can be done to
help others become more educated on the topic. I have come to realize that there is no single
answer as to what could be causing problems for students in college, but understanding the
severity of mental health issues, having the best available resources and using our own
experiences, we are better able to break from the ‘crazy’ or ‘attention-seeking’ stigma we see
around us in everyday life. We as college students work hard to keep up with the ways and
views of society, along with all of our studies to obtain a career, and deal with failures and
successes more than any other age group. We are required by society to get a job, be social,
volunteer, be a part of organizations and continue with our studies, all while figuring out life for
ourselves and keep our mental health in check. I think it is important to understand the issues that

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can arise with mental health, how to notice them for yourself and for others, and having the
resources on our campuses so we can continue on with everything we intend to do.
Works Cited

Gruttadaro, Darcy, and Dana Crudo. COLLEGE ST U D E N T S SPEAK(2012): n. pag.

"Active Minds." The Issue - Student Mental Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2016.
"Mental Health Problems and Help-Seeking Behavior Among College Students." N.p.,

n.d. Web.
"The Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors." N.p., n.d.

Web. 04 Apr. 2016.
Jackson, K. "NAS Executive Summary - Spring 2014." Spring 2014 Reference Group
Executive Summary (2014): n. pag. Web.