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More college students going to mental health centers

Posted at 4:34 PM, Oct 11, 2016

DENVER -- College can be a stressful time. And now those stresses are sending more students to mental health centers than ever before.

Hunter Long And Yazman Ezimi are music students. Their biggest source of stress centers around academics.

"Homework," Long says. That's probably the biggest thing that causes stress."

Another stressor is finding that school life balance.

"We both have jobs and we both go to school full-time and we're trying to make a career," Ezimi says. " So it's really hard to balance all of that so that causes stress."

The American College Health Association surveyed students in 2016. Forty-three percent of them said they felt more than average stress in the last year. Seventeen percent of college students were diagnosed with or treated for anxiety problems during the past year, and 13.9 percent were diagnosed with or treated for depression. When the group surveyed students in 2011, only 11.6 were diagnosed or treated for anxiety and 10.7 percent for depression.

Dr. Michael Malmon is a counselor at Metropolitan State University of Denver and has seen the evidence first hand.

"Specifically at college and university mental health centers we've seen a national increase in the number of students," Malmon says.

Most students come to him with depression and anxiety, specifically social anxiety which he believe is is connected to the use of technology.

"I have folks who come in and who are literally afraid to call up a pizza place an order a pizza," Malmon says. "They can go online and order a pizza but the active interacting with people is terrifying to them."

So what's behind the rise? Andrew Romanoff is CEO of Mental Health Denver and says it could be several factors.

"More kids need help to more kids are comfortable seeking help for three more schools are offering help," Romanoff says, "Which is a good thing."

The silver lining to an sensitive issue universities and their students are facing head on.

When it comes to the issues students found very difficult to handle during that time period, 47 percent said academics, 31 percent finances and 30 percent said intimate relationships and difficulty sleeping.