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College students report rise in mental health struggles during the pandemic

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(WKOW) -- As college students prepare to head back to another school year in the age of COVID-19, there is a growing concern.

A survey of students at The Ohio State University in April 2021 found the following:

  • 28% reported suffering from depression symptoms
  • 42% hit the cut-off for clinical anxiety
  • 71% felt burned out, up from 40% in August 2020

The results also showed students struggling with mental health issues reported the following:

  • Drinking more alcohol
  • Using more tobacco or vaping more often
  • Eating more unhealthy foods
  • Participating in less physical activity

Bernadette Melnyk, the chief wellness officer at Ohio State, said establishing healthy habits is crucial. "They need to schedule physical activity, stress reduction, healthy eating in, just like they schedule courses."

Melnyk said any student struggling with mental health should work on building coping and resiliency skills, get connected by finding someone to help support their mental health and get involved to lessen isolation.

If anxiety or depression interfere with focus or concentration Melnyk said, "[Students] cannot wait to get help."

Something colleges and universities can to to address the problem is invest in the mental health and wellbeing of students.

Melnyk said even before the pandemic, mental health was an issue for college students, but she said the issues have gotten worse during the pandemic.

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Caroline Bach

Anchor, 27 News at 11

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