Trends in college students' mental health diagnoses and utilization of services, 2009-2015

J Am Coll Health. 2020 Jan;68(1):41-51. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2018.1515748. Epub 2018 Oct 25.


Objective: To examine changes in diagnoses/treatment for 12 mental health (MH) conditions, previous use of campus MH services, and willingness to seek MH services in the future. Participants: ACHA-NCHA II participants from 2009 to 2015 (n = 454,029). Methods: Hierarchical binary logistic regression with step 1 controlling for demographics and step 2 considering time. Results: Time was significant except for bipolar disorder, bulimia, and schizophrenia with increases for all conditions except substance abuse. Anxiety (OR = 1.68), panic attacks (OR = 1.61), and ADHD (OR = 1.40) had the highest odd ratios. Use of MH services at current institution (OR = 1.30) and willingness to utilize services in the future (OR = 1.37) also increased over time. Conclusions: Based on a national sample, self-reported diagnoses/treatment of several MH conditions are increasing among college students. This examination of a variety of MH issues can aid college health professionals to engage institutional stakeholders regarding the resources needed to support college students' MH.

Keywords: College students; diagnosis; mental health; treatment; trends.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mental Health Services / trends*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Self Report
  • Students / psychology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult