Theory of Knowledge

A unified approach to psychology and philosophy

The College Student Mental Health Crisis

There is an abundance of evidence pointing to deteriorating mental health among today's college students. This blog reviews the major pieces of data, setting the stage for a discussion as to what might be causing this mental health crisis. Read More

I believe it is the constant

I believe it is the constant competition and comparison between students and the need to ignore your personal style and conform to a certain way of doing things to be successful.

I wonder if certain subjects have a higher rate of depressed and anxious students?


Zoe is 100% correct.
Students at all levels are facing ever greater levels of competition each year. They're forced to higher and higher levels of performance with less time to grow as people or learn anything. They grow up delaying gratification forever because there's always another hoop to jump through. Extracurriculars are about what would look best on a college application or get a great scholarship. I don't blame parents at all; college admssions has gotten so competitive—and costs so insane—students and parents are running to stand still.


Thanks to Zoe and Anonymous for your comments. I am cataloguing the possible reasons and will share that blog in a week or so.


It's so sad to watch the

It's so sad to watch the deterioration in young people's mental health. It's like kids can take one of two paths: hyper-achieving or dropout. It's all or nothing, and the top is the only thing that's good enough. There's not much room at the top, plus it's crazy at the top - ask anyone who is there/has been there and is willing to be honest about it (me, for example, although this is not about me so you're spared the details). With no child left behind and every action quantified into competitive percentiles, no wonder our kids are suffering. I wish all our kids knew what garbage went into standardized testing, what adult life is really like, and how much we all fail along the way. They wouldn't feel so much pressure to be perfect, and they'd know the truth about the adults evaluating them.
Excuse the disjointed the rambling, it's just frustrating to see the effects of the world we created and what it's doing to kids.

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Gregg Henriques, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at James Madison University.


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