Kyle Avery Jones had recently come out as transgender to her parents and friends when her final semester at the University of Connecticut began in January 2020. She wore androgynous clothes to school, sought out gender-neutral bathrooms, and limited her socializing to queer-friendly weekend gatherings off-campus. “Everyone in my classes assumed I was a dude. I didn’t want to show up one day with a face full of makeup and a dress on. I was literally counting down to the end of the semester.
About 26% of young adults 18-25 years old have a mental health issue, but only 38% of those affected actually receive treatment, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Colleges across the U.S. have felt the weight of the statistics. Counseling centers are flooded by an increasing demand for a limited amount of mental health resources, resulting in students getting placed on waitlists. At times, students are turning toward e-communities, particularly ones on Instagram, for support and recovery. Many accounts are dedicated to raising awareness and offering support for eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. Instagram users communicate and bond through their captions, stories, and private messages on their mental battles and physical struggles.
The University of Connecticut’s football and men’s basketball and women’s basketball teams are among many teams at the university that have performed above the required NCAA Academic Progress Rate. The football and men’s basketball teams both have improved their APR scores in recent years. The women’s team has repeatedly scored well off the court while also winning national championships. The men’s basketball team earned an NCAA Public Recognition Award for posting a perfect 1000 single year APR score in the 2017-2018 year, UConn Today reported. The football team has had a steady improvement in the last five years in its multi-year APR score, with it starting at 960 in 2013-2014 and increasing to 981 for 2017-2018, according to The New Haven Register.
One day Kamar Rhoden, 15, of Hartford, was scrolling through Instagram when he received a notification that someone had left him a comment. When Kamar clicked on the comment, he saw that it was mean, and he said he was immediately overwhelmed with sadness. Seeing that someone could say such mean things, he said he became depressed and wanted to change everything about himself. Kamar said he has since been able to overcome his sadness, that may not be the case for other teens. In fact, The Crime Report reported that an article in the Journal of School Violence has found that “Students who experienced bullying or cyberbullying are nearly two times more likely to attempt suicide.” Twenty percent of students, ages 12-18, were bullied during the 2016-2017 school year, TCR reports.
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.