Curbing the college student mental health crisis


AUGUSTA, Ga. — Thinking about going to college can be overwhelming for high school seniors. Prepping for entrance exams, and the daunting thought of taking out student loans, can be stressful.

“I never had to think about my future until right now,” said Academy of Richmond County Senior, Lillie Taylor. “It’s kind of like, I’m at that deadline where I have to turn things in, and I’m still trying to figure things out.”

Some parents at ARC are teaching their teens to be financially responsible and being prepared for the challenge of living on their own. Like Laura Taylor, her daughter, lillie, is torn between UGA or Spellman. Laura is glad the university system of georgia is now prioritizing mental health.

“There might be something going on that they don’t feel comfortable talking to a parent or friends,” Laura Taylor. “It’s nice they have those resources for them.”

Experts say, college students who are trying to balance work, school, and their social life are prone to mental health challenges on campus.

“She is going to have a lot of peer pressure,” said Lonnie Pledger. “Not from the school itself, but other students that’s in school.”

But the stress, right now, is getting accepted into that dream college.

“I feel like life is just moving on real fast, and I don’t know what to do once I graduate,” explained Academy of Richmond County Senior, Ciara Newman. “I know where I want to go, but I’m going to be myself.”

Ciara’s dad says the recent addition of the mental health task force is a plus- but having people in his daughter’s corner is a bonus.

“The people she already met, they’ve made her and myself feel welcomed,” said Pledger. “Also, they are there to help her out.”

Parents at ARC took advantage of the FAFSA workshop on Wednesday. You can expect similar programs to be offered this fall at other high schools in the two-state.

In a recent survey by the American Council on Education, 80 percent of the 1,700 college and university presidents participating said mental health is now a greater priority on campus than it was just three years ago.

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