Graduation: classically peppered by parties, gifts, and champagne toasts to the happy memories of university life.
Not all the seniors donning their caps and gowns during this year’s commencement season will be leaving behind four years of joy and wonder, however. Far from it. For tens of thousands, the college experience has been marred by crippling stress—enough so that many campuses have been overwhelmed by demand for mental health services.
The number of appointments made at counseling centers has grown at more than seven times the rate of institutional enrollment. One might wonder whether college students across the US are suddenly having some sort of breakdown. In fact, the trouble starts much earlier than that. Anxiety and depression in America’s high-school-aged teenagers have climbed to astronomical levels; it makes sense that these patterns of unhappiness stretch, and oftentimes amplify, during college, when many students taste life for the first time away from family and familiar surroundings.