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Research finds that Academic Stress is the Leading Cause of Depression among College Students

Within my research, I focused on the relationship of academic stress and high depression levels. Depression is not a state of emotion; it is a serious mental health condition that impacts 9,000 undergraduates enrolled each year.

As academic pressures become more demanding, fourth-year students experience higher levels of depression with frequent visits to the counselling center. Research states that current generations face greater academic challenges than in the past due to technological advances, competitive economic environments and financial burdens.

Over 20 percent of individuals suffer from depression but less than one-third of students seek professional help. Instead, students resort to drugs and alcohol which can lead to high-risk behaviors like suicide.

At the University of Maryland, a patient-health questionnaire otherwise known as the “PHQ-10” is a tool utilized by healthcare professionals to evaluate the levels of severity within depressed patients. Various methods of treatment are available like the “behavioral activation” treatment created by UMD Professor, Carl Lejuez where goal-setting and diary keeping is used to focus on one's mental state.




Seeking professional help greatly increase the chances of betterment. It is imperative for colleges to develop programs to improve prevention, identification and treatment for depression to ensure a safe educational setting.

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