As anxiety and depression among college students soars, universities in Connecticut and nationally are expanding their mental health counseling, even offering courses that address mental well-being. A new national report from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State found that anxiety and depression were the top concerns of students seeking counseling services, and that self-harm behaviors have risen for the seventh year in a row. In another survey, 57 percent of directors of college counseling services said the severity of student mental health concerns increased between 2015 and 2016. And according to a National College Health Assessment (NCHA) survey, 9.1 percent of college students reported being diagnosed in the last year with a psychiatric condition. “We have seen an increase this fall compared to last fall of almost 30 percent in students requesting to be seen by our counseling service,” said Kerry Patton, director of health and wellness at Quinnipiac University. Over the last few years, anxiety has surpassed depression as the most common reason students at Quinnipiac are seeking counseling services.
Marriage and struggles with religion and spirituality significantly raise the suicide risk for veterans, according to a study funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “Transitioning back into a domestic home environment may prove exceedingly difficult,” resulting in an increased suicide risk for veterans who are married or living with a partner, the study states. In addition, suicide risk rises substantially for veterans undergoing strains in their religious and spiritual lives, the study shows. Such strains include beliefs expressed by veterans that they have been abandoned by God, that God doesn’t love them or is punishing them. On the other hand, no effect on suicide risk was seen when veterans reported positive religious and spiritual connections.
Is marijuana a harmless way to relax or a dangerous gateway drug? The science says “No” and “We don’t know,” respectively. Arguments for and against legalization often misrepresent the medical effects of cannabis, some experts say. Several bills proposed in the 2017 session of the General Assembly would make recreational use of marijuana legal in Connecticut. Medical marijuana use for conditions ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder to cancer has been legal in the state since 2012, though dispensaries did not open until 2014.
During her years at the University of Connecticut, Naomi Adler suffered such severe depression that sometimes, she couldn’t get out of bed to go to class. But students like her could not always receive prompt treatment at the campus clinic. “They need to be able to get people help faster,” said Adler, a May graduate from Kent. “I’ve called up and been told I have to wait even two months, and it’s like, ‘I need help now.’”
All three departments that treat a growing number of UConn students for mental health counseling on the Storrs campus said they have struggled this academic year to meet the demand for services. Students seeking treatment at UConn’s largest clinic, Counseling and Mental Health Services, often faced a two-week wait for treatment due to a lack of available appointments, Elizabeth Cracco, the clinic’s director, said.
What do we mean when we talk about rape? A new University of North Dakota study found that 1 in 3 male students said they would force a woman to have sexual intercourse if they thought they could get away with it. That’s rape, isn’t it? By North Dakota’s definition, forcing anyone to have sexual contact is the legal definition of rape. But researchers didn’t use the word “rape” in the study until later.
The number of sexual assaults on Connecticut college campuses jumped 25 percent in 2013 compared with the previous year, newly released data show. Among 19 colleges and universities in the state, 104 assaults were reported last year, up from 83 in 2013. The data on assaults was provided by the colleges, as required under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. In 2013, the University of Connecticut in Storrs had the greatest number of reported sex assaults with 23, followed by Trinity College in Hartford with 21 and Yale University in New Haven with 12. Trinity had the highest rate of assaults, with 8.79 per 1,000 students. Connecticut College in New London ranked second, with a rate of 4.68 per 1,000 students.
Connecticut is a state in need of a fix. In the awful event of a rape or sexual assault at a university or college there is no guarantee that the victim will be treated as she should be (“she” because the vast majority of campus rapes are committed by men, against women). The crime of rape is horrible. The reaction of schools is too often equally so. Earlier this month, the same day Hartford’s Harriet Beecher Stowe Center held a public conversation on campus violence, a state legislative committee approved a bill that would improve schools’ responses to rape and intimate partner violence on campuses.
When it comes to Division-I athletic programs, the NCAA is demanding higher and better performances each year in the classroom. This past June, the NCAA passed a new set of rules about the Academic Progress Rates (APR) of students playing Division-I athletics. To qualify for the 2012-13 playoffs and championships, each team must have a minimum 900 four-year APR or a 930 average over two years. For the 2014-15 season, teams must earn a four-year average of at least 930 or an average of at least 940 in the two most recent years. And for the 2015-16 season, teams must earn a four-year APR of at least 940. Each Division-I team calculates its APR each academic year, based on the eligibility, graduation and retention of each scholarship athlete, the NCAA said. Teams scoring below certain thresholds can face consequences, such as practice restrictions and restrictions on postseason competition.
Through the years the University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball teams have dominated their respective sports by winning multiple national championships. But when it comes to academics, the women have been far superior to the men. When the UConn men’s basketball team begins play in the American Athletic Conference this season, it will once again be eligible for post-season play. That’s because the team’s 2011-12 Academic Progress Rate, or APR – the NCAA’s measurement of academic and graduation success – was 947 out of 1,000, giving the program two consecutive years with good scores and meeting the NCAA requirements. With a two-year average APR of 964, the men’s team, which had been banned from postseason play in 2013 for a low APR, surpassed the NCAA’s two-year standard of 930. Only a handful of college basketball teams have been able to keep the consistent perfect score of 1,000.
There were 11 Division I colleges with perfect Academic Progress Rates in the 2010-2011 seasons. Of those, only Butler University, the University of Kansas and Notre Dame had any NCAA tournament success. Some people might think that players on high-performing teams would have lower grades, but statistics show otherwise. The average APR score for the Associated Press top five teams was 956.6 in 2010-2011. The average rate for the bottom five teams was 964.2. That means there was only a slight difference between the top five and bottom five.