1.1. Mental Illness Trends in College Students

College students report depression, anxiety, and stress , with approximately one in three undergraduate students revealing levels of depression high enough to impede function, as well as nearly one in 10 students indicating that they were high-risk for suicidal attempts in the previous year . Despite these data, the importance-and treatment-of mental health issues, particularly for college-aged young adults, are not widely recognized by policy makers, health-care providers, and the general public . Indeed, research on coping strategies and resilience show promise (for example, see [10,11]), but are often ignored for this age group, considered to be in the prime of their lives, yet also not quite mature enough to be suffering from “real” problems associated with adulthood . The following literature review provides a glimpse into research on the interpersonal mental illness experiences of college students, particularly the impact of perceived and/or diagnosed mental illness on their social and romantic relationships.

Within the young adult population, college students experience mental health problems at alarming rates, with recent surveys finding that over half of students reporting overwhelming anxiety, and over 1/3 reporting depression in the past year . Indeed, the literature suggests that a wide range of emotional https://worldbrides.org/sv/nya-zeeland-brudar/ problems, beyond depression, are significantly associated with lower academic functioning . Students of color face additional mental illness risks due to perceived discrimination, especially at primarily White institutions (PWIs), tied to race-related stressors and unease during their college experience [17,18].

Additional outcomes include increased physical and sexual health risks, juvenile delinquency, underemployment, substance abuse, unhealthy weight gain, and premature mortality [12,15,16]

Among college students of all racial/ethnic backgrounds, there is an especially high prevalence of alcohol use disorders [19,20]. Alcohol use disorders often lead to lifelong mental and general health consequences [19,21]. Since many of these same at-risk young adults do not seek mental health services for mental illness , the risk of developing long-term consequences-or relying on informal, untrained sources of support, is high .

Some research, however, shows that college students are at a slightly lower risk of mental disorder in comparison to their non-college peers . This is, in part, due to universities across the country conducting various research studies, providing services, and implementing various techniques to improve students’ mental health. Attempting to provide more awareness, many colleges are beginning to introduce mental health information with students as early as orientation sessions and within courses, making students aware of symptoms; emphasizing resources available to them, teaching wellness/well-being practices, and preparing them to support friends and classmates who might be struggling with mental illness [23,24,25]. Indeed, prevention and early intervention (PEI) not only increases the likelihood that students use mental health resources and do so sooner, but also lowers corresponding student dropout rates due to, among other reasons, poor mental health [15,25]. By creating a positive campus mental health culture and reducing the barriers to treatment, there is the potential for an increase in students seeking treatment , as well as using their own coping skills and resilience to help bolster their mental health .

1.2. Mental Health and Social Relationships: The Good, The Bad, and The Isolated

A major buffer for mental illness, social support-the intention of providing help and being there for others within social relationships-is of four types: emotional, instrumental, informational, and appraisal . Prior to college, teen and adolescents get most of their support from family and peers, though the importance of relying on family does not stop when arriving at college-indeed, parents helping their college-enrolled children learn healthy independence while assisting with demands and challenges related to both college and impending adulthood are not without merit . Even if parents are no longer physically present, the perception of support functions to bolster mental health [28,29].

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