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More students enter college with severe mental illnesses

Kevin Dooley

MU’s Counseling Center is hosting a depression screening day for MU students Thursday. Computer stations across campus will provide assessments of depression and anxiety for participating students.

The growing number of students who enter college with severe mental illnesses has been on the rise for the last decade, according to a study by the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Christy Hutton is a programming and communications coordinator with MU Counseling Center. She says she’s seeing more students with mental health problems on campus.

“We are seeing certainly an increase in the number of students who are coming to campus already experiencing some type of mental illness and, or, students who are coming to us in the course of their education who are experiencing a major depression or an anxiety disorder,” Hutton says.

Cindi Keele is executive director of NAMI Missouri or the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She says the environment is contributing to increased anxiety and depression.

“Certainly the economy has played a big role. Kids are more worried about paying for college," Keele says. "We know that young people are taking on huge student loan debt, which is a worry. And then there is that worry, will I actually be able to get a job once I get out of school."

MU counseling staff will be setup at six testing stations across campus to facilitate confidential student self-assessment tests. The screenings take place between 10 a.m and 1 p.m. Thursday.