Coastal Empire colleges see rise in students battling anxiety, depression

STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - More and more college students are turning to their counseling centers to get help with conditions like anxiety and depression.

The American College Health Association says a record number of college students are reaching out for help and it could be straining resources.

Everyone knows that college is hard. Donovan Veasey is a fourth-year student at Georgia Southern University and says he's grateful to have friends and family to help him through school.

"It's just really stressful. I know I personally feel anxious a lot with classes and with tests and stuff like that," says Veasey.

The director of Georgia Southern's Counseling Center, Dr. Jodi Caldwell, said her department services about 10 percent of the student population.

"There is no magic threshold to when counseling may be appropriate for someone. So if a student is even questioning 'Am I really struggling right now?' I'd encourage them to take advantage of the services we have to offer," Caldwell said.

Georgia Southern offers individual and group therapy, mental health workshops, training opportunities, a 24-7 on-call number for a crisis and more. Jenny Sergent is a student and says knowing resources are always available makes it a little easier to proactively reach out for help.

"I feel comfortable here, and I really think this is a good resource we can go to and I'm not worried about talking to them," Sergent said.

So you may be wondering if college students are more emotionally unstable now compared to the past? Dr. Caldwell says the increase in used services can be attributed to an increase in mental health awareness but adds she still needs help.

"I think we definitely need to continue to expand if for no other reason than our student body continues to expand. You know, we could use more counselors now,"  Caldwell said.

Savannah State University also says its seen an increase in students reaching out for mental health help. WTOC reached out to SCAD and Armstrong to get their rates, neither school responded before this story's deadline.

To learn more about local school mental health resources click below:

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