Mental Health in Freshmen


Anxiety among freshmen is a wide and interesting topic to cover. The scope of this study is to understand how freshmen are able to keep up with the pressures of being new in the university set up. The transition into university life is a confusing period for young people as they get to experience life on different wavelengths. They are not followed up closely on their attendance to classes, they live away from their families and some of them have to work in order to sustain their lives in school. The young people find their way out in the world through their experiences in the University. At this point, young people are likely to resort to other means to cope with the challenges they face. Young people can get into many problems during their period at the University. For instance, there are those who get into gangs in a bid to become popular and in most cases, they end up in alcohol and substance abuse. Some end up dropping out of school and other drown in depression. However, there is hope for them because they can communicate with the student affairs and professors to get help in sorting out their anxiety issues before the situation escalates to undesirable levels. The effectiveness of the school mental health services is called to question more often than not. This is because the people in charge have failed to address many issues tied to the mental state of the students. The working hours need to be revised and other means of accessing these services developed to ensure that these students are well looked after.

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How freshmen students who have anxiety describe their needs and experience with students affairs and professors

The freshman who has had the experiences of dealing with anxiety, panic attacks, and depression have often reported having gotten no help when they needed it mostly due to the strict operation hours of the counselling and psychological centres at the university. There are many mental health issues in today’s world and the rate at which they affect young people is alarming. It is important for the universities to have effective students’ affairs services to ensure that the students within the facilities are well taken care of when need be. Reports have been rife about how inefficient these services are at the universities and colleges. There have been reports about freshmen being picked on by the older students. There are students who also are picked on for being different in terms of race, abilities and other differentiating factors. As a freshman in a college setting, the victims are likely to be mentally affected by such incidences. The perpetrators also often people have mental problems like low self-esteem and inferiority complex. They always want to get the most attention and become popular. These are issues that counselling departments have failed to address in colleges. It is important to understand the need for instructors to take part in maintaining sanity in schools.

Students have had to take their time out to form peer-led help groups because the school’s facilities have proven inadequate. This means that the students have had to find help among themselves with the help of counselling departments. Learning institutions use this tactic to deal with mental health challenges albeit low funding. It is important for the institutions of higher education to work together with students to find solutions for some of the mental health problems. For instance, the students can take part in formulation friendly social activities that can help freshmen mesh with the rest of the school. There are persistent mental health issues in the lives of the young people in the university (Zivin & Golberstein, 2009). Their needs are constantly changing and this is a challenge to the institutions as they strive to provide the best possible care. These sources fail to acknowledge the fact that freshmen have different adapting capabilities to life away from their families. Therefore, further research is necessary to establish whether freshmen should have a program to prepare them for life in college. Professor should also take their time to establish whether they should pay more attention to their students. This will reduce the number of freshmen who lose their focus due to small challenges that professors could help mitigate. 

Residence Areas of the Students

The college student journal, “Social adjustment of college freshmen: the importance of gender and living environment,” mentions that the male population of freshmen has a faster adjustment rate into the university environment. This source has evidence that the freshmen I the Freshmen Year Experience halls of residence had better adjustment rates compared to the freshmen who lived in the traditional halls of radiance (Enochs & Roland, 2006). It is important that these factors be put into consideration when looking into how freshmen handle anxiety. The freshmen residing in separate halls of residence are likely to deal with anxiety better than others living in the same halls of residence as other students because this way, they are among people going through the same issues in life. This makes it important for these students to deal with panic attacks and get support from people who understand them. The ones living in the traditional halls of residence may often feel left out and out of place among the older students. This source fails to acknowledge the fact that anxiety can arise in the event where they had challenges adapting to the new living environment away from their families. The adjustment capabilities of the genders can also contribute to the development of anxiety disorders for freshmen. There is a need to have the university and college administrations create an avenue for helping the freshmen to adjust in the institution’s way of life. The study on how the halls of residence determine how well the freshmen adapt to life in college has not been extensive. There is a gap in research as to whether the institutions can improve the situation by increasing accommodation facilities and prioritizing on freshmen.

Racism and minority status

There are issues pertaining to race that also face freshmen in universities. An article on The Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology Journal explains the problems that freshmen are likely to encounter as a result of racism (Best, Burton, & Bynum, 2007). Best, Burton, and Bynum (2007) talk about the levels of stress and anxiety among freshmen being directly proportional to the level of racism they face. The socialization of the students always creates a basis for their capability to deal with racism while in new places. The African American population of freshmen used in this study for obvious reasons. They are usually the most racially profiled and most vocal about these incidences. However, the journal does not include the reaction and possible reactions of other races in their first years. This makes the source fail to accommodate a complete study on how all students adapt to the college or university environment as freshmen. The African American population developed anxiety challenges for being picked on for their dark skin and kinky and curly hair more often than their white counterparts were. The African American freshmen who had been socialized to embrace their culture and be proud of being different had lower stress levels and anxiety in their first year. They were also more capable of getting themselves to deal with stressful events stemming from racist remarks because they had been well prepared and knew that it was expected.

There are other aspects tied to the residential areas of the students that are tied to their psychological well-being. A study finds Latin American students facing higher mental health challenges compared to the Asian American students. This can be attributed to the society’s assumption that the Latin American’s are inferior compared to their white and Asian counterparts (Wilton & Constantine, 2011). These factors affect the whole society including the students. It makes the experience of the Latin American student’s negative while in institutions of higher education. Additionally, the fact that they are treated poorly both within and outside of the confines of their schools is enough reason to cause them to developmental challenges. Research should establish the causes of the problems for freshmen and then seek suitable solutions. Failure to cater for the causes of anxiety in young people is one gap that exists in these sources. Addressing mental health issues in young people would be a great start for dealing with anxiety, which is evidently missing in many research reports.

There is an aspect of coloured students being in predominantly white institutions. The students have challenges in performing as well as the white students for obvious reasons. Predominantly white institutions have higher rates of racism despite having the best facilities and ridiculously higher tuitions coats. This means that the black students who attend these schools have a lower chance of earning fair grades. They are also likely to face and endure racist remarks in the social spaces. This reduces their chances of success in the institution compared to their counterparts in institutions with better diversity in terms of population (Smedley, Myers, & Harrell, 1993). The problem begins when they are freshmen and have to adjust to their new environments. It is important that these institutions preach diversity and accommodate the students who are not white without apparent discrimination. This environment is negative for any minority group of people. At this point, the study reveals that the systems treat white and Asian students better than other students who are neither white not Asian. It is important that the institutions take note of this state of affairs and device methods for dealing with the challenges. The adjustment rates and abilities vary in the freshmen depending on their personalities and backgrounds. It is increasingly difficult for a black student on scholarship to survive in a predominantly white university or college. Further research should establish whether the white students in predominantly black colleges experience the same kind of discrimination or disadvantage. 

Internet Activities and Depressive Symptoms

Anxiety and depression are symptoms that can be tied to the activities on the internet. The activities of freshmen on the internet can indicate whether they are going through stressful periods or not. The type of engagement they conduct over the internet is a major indicator of anxiety or triggers for the same. For instance, there are people who take pride in being bullies over the internet. The people who engage in long hours of shopping and buying things online are seemingly the ones offering from anxiety and depression (Morgan & Cotten, 2004). The ones who took to the internet to talk to friends and engage on social media activities were the least expected to be in anxiety situations. This means that universities should find out what freshmen do online without infringing on their privacy. This will enable the counselling services and the psychological support departments know how many of their freshmen are dealing with mental health challenges. This will enable them to have a better way of developing programs to get the freshmen to open up and save lives. This is because, the freshmen’s mental challenges, if left unchecked can gradually lead them into suicidal tendencies. The universities and colleges have to be more hands-on with their freshmen to reduce the number of students with anxiety disorders and depressive tendencies. 

Mental Health Needs

Today’s mental health needs among college students have changed. The universities and colleges have to ensure that the counselling offices are operational at all times. This is because students with episodes of panic attacks cannot wait until the scheduled opening time to get help. The fact that more and more young people are in need of mental health support means that the institutions should be ready and prepared to deal with the cases. Having many counsellors and a mental health department that is fully functional around the clock is important (Kitzrow, 2003). Panic and anxiety attacks are often emergency psychological situations. Therefore, colleges and universities have to have provisions for dealing with these cases. The young people with anxiety disorders in society today are many. The changes in the social setups today exposes younger people stressful situation constantly. This makes it necessary for young people in institutions to get help. The article by Martha Anne Kitz row caters for the changing needs of young people, mainly the freshmen and their mental health needs. She focuses on the need for the institutions to adjust and accommodate these needs in their facilities. Institutions should make the provisions for mental health support available and common among freshmen students. This will ensure that once they move higher up to their sophomore years and beyond, they can seek help freely when they need it.

There are supposedly differences in anxiety frequency and sensitivity. There are, however, the study does not explicitly point out the differences. However, the study was conducted on students with a history of anxiety (Reiss & McNally, 1986). The research focused on what the students thought was the result of their being anxious. The students were interviewed about what happens when they get anxious. They were talking about what happens to them when they develop anxiety. Some, for example, reported experiencing low temperatures or faster rates in their heartbeats. These are all challenges and factors that students going through a phase of anxiety have to deal with. For some, the symptoms and results are far worse. The study was conducted in order to find out what happened during and after an anxiety episode in a student. The sample collected was small and the results may fail to represent the whole population of the students adequately.  The research study documents the findings that cannot be applied to all universities because the scope was small and more research is needed. The research may be more costly but the results are worth the spending because they can save lives. 

Retention Capabilities in College Students

The students that were in colleges or universities adapted to their environment easily had better grades in their classes. Therefore, the colleges and universities have to ensure that the freshmen have the provision for being socialized into the systems better. This makes it easy for them to have a better performance index in their academics (Gerdes & Mallinckrodt, 1994). A study was conducted on how freshmen turned out in later years in the university. There are those who dropped out for various reasons and there were those who did not drop out but recorded bad grades over the years. The emotional and social adjustment levels were instrumental in how the students performed in their university education. The ones who adjusted without much problems into the university were better in terms of performance and they were less likely to develop anxiety issues. The universities have to ensure that the freshmen get to settle better and develop better relationships with their environment. This will ensure that fewer freshmen drop out as they advance in their career and less of them have poor grades as they progress. A good and strong mental support system for the freshmen in universities is important in ensuring that the workspaces get quality employees and the society gets well-developed citizens. The cases of mental health issues are more rampant today than ever before. Universities should adopt this strategy from the moment freshmen get into these institutions to when they graduate. Some sources focus on the self-esteem issues and fail to recognize where these issues started. There are students who enrol in these colleges and need support and counselling to help them stay in school. There are those who take themselves back to school after quitting drugs and gangs and they need support to ensure that they do not lose their way. 


Freshmen are likely to suffer from complicated self-esteem issues. Universities can solve the issue of self-esteem by creating an environment that encourages equality and goodwill among the students. This will ensure that the students under scholarships or aid do not feel less important in the midst of those who are sponsored by their families. Financial constraints are usually the most notable causes of low self-esteem issues among freshmen. This is because they cannot keep up with the lifestyle of the older students and their counterparts with well-off families. Such students may not fit well in the school environment, nurturing negativity into the lives of these young people. The study in the personality and social psychology bulletin is important for use by universities to find ways of handling the menace of freshmen dealing with anxiety problems (Crocker & Luhtanen, 2003). People suffering economical differences usually make social differences worse. The effect these differences have on freshmen is hard especially because they are usually away from their families for the first time in their lives. 

The university administrations have to be more concerned about the way freshmen handle diversity in their lives. There are students who get into university on scholarships due to their exemplary performances in the academic work. These students are likely to suffer from anxiety when they know that their performance in their university determines whether they can get a shot at good jobs to change their lives. Such students are faced with challenges of working to sustain other expenses and may be led into negative peer groups. These are situations where these students were likely to get into drug usage and other negative activities in a bid to survive in university. At this point, the colleges should have functional mental health facilities as prescribed in the research study. It is important to have functional academic, social and financial support systems in the colleges and universities. Freshmen who are well received by the university are usually easy to manage once they progress in their school year other than the ones whose challenges were initially ignored. However, these studies have not covered the possibilities of these facilities could be present and the students fail to take the chance of seeking them. They end up failing to get help yet the institution has catered for these needs.

Sexual orientation in freshmen

The world today is more accepting and accommodating of people and their choice of sexual orientation. This means that more people are coming out as gay, a phenomenon that was previously openly condemned and frowned upon. This means that even when handling the freshmen in the institutions of higher education, this is an aspect that has to be monitored closely. The freshmen identifying as gay or lesbians and queers must be accorded the same services as the rest of the students. This means that these students have to have access to counselling and psychological support systems as other students would. It is important that students be made to understand that their existence in the institution is not a mistake. It is important for institutions to create environments that are devoid of discrimination and ill-treatment of students on the basis of their sexuality. A study was conducted on the methods that can be used to prevent mental health challenges in this group of students in colleges and universities (D’Augelli, 1993). This group of people is usually the target of homophobic attacks and other discriminatory forms of attack. This means that they are at an increased risk of developing depression due to the treatment they are likely to receive from their schoolmates. The students have to be supported to ensure they do not fall into depression and developmental health challenges concerning their sexual orientation.

Mental Stability and Academic Performance

The influx of anxiety cases in freshmen in universities is an indication that in future, the society will have to contend with having unstable graduates. This means that stable graduates have to be nurtured right from the time they set foot in the university. Freshmen should get treatment as early as possible if they experience anxiety issues. Some go to universities and colleges with ready prescriptions and diagnosis. This leaves it to the administrations to handle these cases with care. The success of graduates from a particular school depends on the environment provided by the administration for nurturing these individuals. The source of mental heal and academic success in colleges highlights the importance of having strong and stable mental health awareness programs within universities. Students with no mental health challenges are always ready to learn and can handle complex academic challenges compared to those with other types of challenges in their lives such as lack of tuition fees and the potential loss of scholarships. This is important in ensuring that the University of College Institution can handle the students and their challenges correctly. The study focused on finding the relationship between the success of students and their mental health status at all times (Eistenberg, Golberstein, & Hunt, Mental Health and Academic Success in College, 2009). In this case, though, there was no focus on the causes of the mental health issues facing the freshmen in colleges.

Students will always perform according to their capabilities in the event where they do not have other issues slowing down their potential. There are students whose academic capabilities cannot be affected by anything they experience in their lives as long as they can attend their classes. However, there are those show progress is always dependent on how relaxed they are about life. It is important that when analysing the academic performance of the students in school, their mental health status be considered. Freshmen are a delicate lot in the university environment. This is because they have to adjust to living away from their families. It is a phase in their lives where they get to adjust to society without their families being there to guide them through. Times have changed today because the freshmen can easily call home and talk to their family members. Earlier on, the students had to adapt to life on their own and device their own survival means. This created a challenge because they could not seek help from strangers all the time yet their families were far. The students often resorted to finding jobs to sustain their needs, which in turn altered their school schedules. Anxiety levels at this stage can rise to dangerous levels. 

It is important that the universities and colleges have systems to foresee the potential anxiety and depression levels in their students given their social and economic backgrounds. The students who lead normal lives with moderate challenges in their lives are usually the least likely to develop anxiety issues. This is confirmed by various research studies conducted over time (Andrews & Wilding, 2010). The anxiety and depression issues are easy to detect from the academic performances of the freshmen. The freshmen who get into college and university with high grades but record low results, later on, are likely to be victims of poor mental health status. The anxiety of being in a new environment is nerve-wracking. As a result, when looking at how mentally healthy the students are, it is important to hold their academic performance graphs up high as well. The decline in the academic performance of students is less likely to change negatively when there is no notable problem.

The biggest indicator of poor mental health in freshmen is their academic performance, class attendance, and their socialization patterns. There is an additional dynamic in terms of the mental health of the students in universities, international students. International students have to be socialized into the institutional systems well enough for them to be accepting of the mental health services that are being offered. The access to these facilities is important for international students (Mori, 2011). They need all the help they can get to settle into a new country and school at the same time. For some, it is also the first time in their lives they are away from their families. International students in their freshman years abroad go through many challenges. Some black students are victims of racism in foreign countries despite speaking the local languages. This means that they have to be cautious of the company they keep. They have to be cautious about the places they visit, where they live and literally where they sit in class at the university. This kind of stress is not easy to handle and can advance into depression. This is especially common for students who have had the police called on them for being black. They develop paranoia. International students who are not black and do not understand English are likely to get anxiety and panic attacks due to their inability to communicate effectively. This is a great challenge in terms of people being culturally and ethnically different. 

Indecisive Students

There are students who admit to having anxiety challenges but cannot clearly point out the reason for their anxiety. This means that they know they should seek help but cannot tell what kind of help they need to seek. It is increasingly important for them to have repeated sessions with counsellors so that the professionals can point out the source of their challenges. However, there are challenges when freshman students with anxiety issues cannot decide to seek help and stick to their decision. It is important that universities take these cases seriously for purposes of monitoring their progress. The students who need counselling are never quick to admit that they need help. There are those who admit to needing help but cannot correctly follow up on their counselling sessions. This makes the indecisive patients difficult to treat. They make it difficult for professionals to deal with these challenges. They often spiral into unimaginable depths of anxiety disorders and end up hospitalized. These are usually the most difficult cases to handle according to the source by Paul Salomone. It is important that colleges and universities take it upon themselves to create an avenue for these students to express themselves and get the support that they need (Salomone, 1982). The national government can also invest in mental health programs within universities and colleges to ensure that students can always get the help they need it. This will be one way that the government can take part in securing the future generations. 

The functions of counselling in colleges and universities are to help students cope with the challenges of their daily lives in school. However, the studies have not factored in the possibility of students going to seek these counselling and failing to get the help that they need. There are no alternatives to these services. Those with extreme stress levels are often offered counselling services within the school curriculum. The services are put in place to help the professors train all-rounded citizens to become useful citizens in the society (Heppner & Neral, 1983). It is important that during any research study within a college or university, the effectiveness of the existing systems be evaluated. There are students who need these services but are sceptical about their effectiveness. This makes the failure to utilize the services until it is too late and their problems have increased in seriousness. This means that the counselling departments are expected to create awareness when admitting the freshmen so that the emergency cases are reduced in the end. 

Math and Anxiety in freshmen

Mathematics is no longer hailed as the most important subject in academics. Students have designed means of dealing with their anxiety issues over time. There are various categories of math-related anxiety. There are ones with psychological and physical symptoms as well (Andrew, 2004). It is considered a major subject but it is no longer held up high in importance over other subjects. There are students who would develop anxiety and panic attacks when their course seemed to get too difficult for them to pass. This was mainly in the technical courses that hailed mathematics over other subjects. This trait is likely to affect the efficiency of these students in understanding other subjects. This easily results in the students failing in other subjects. Today, students are more open to dealing with Mathematics related anxiety better than they would in the previous years. However, this study does not present alternatives for students who do not acknowledge the fact that they have math anxiety issues. The study was based on theoretic findings rather than actual proven results.  

Career Choices and Course Demands

There are certain careers and their curriculums that stress the students despite their social, economic and mental status. For instance, medical students are always going through stressful periods. This means that they need to have functional metal health departments within their learning institutions. Training physicians have to keep in mind that everything they do is to save the lives of other people. They are not allowed to make mistakes. This means that during their coursework, they have to be careful to ensure that they understand everything both in theory and in practice. They are likely to develop anxiety and depression due to the high demands of their schoolwork. These students are also prone to falling into burnout related mental health issues. Their sanity is always in the hands of the mental health physicians within their facilities and their will to be successful in their careers. It is for this reason that medical doctors can only succeed when they are passionate about their careers. A study conducted in Canada on medical students found that their curriculum was a source of stress (Liselotte, Matthew, & Shanafelt, 2006). The anxiety reports in the years preceding 2005 in medical school were many. However, the source was not able to figure out why the anxiety and psychological distress episodes were common in medical schools. The research was extensive but not well detailed to indicate the cause of the students falling into depression and suffering from anxiety.

The impact of counselling services in colleges and universities.

 Institutions with counselling services are doing a good job in helping the young people to cope with the challenges as they settle into the university and college environment. A study was conducted to identify whether the counselling services have been beneficial in the success status of the students in the end in staying in the university. There was no significant relationship between good grades and counselling (Donghyuck, Oslon, Locke, & Michelson, 2009). However, the students who went for counselling had higher chances of graduating compared to those who did not. Counselling services were not directly proportional to the success of students in their studies. Their grades remained independent of the counselling services offered in these institutions. Therefore, counselling can be according to the recognition of helping more students stay in school and give themselves a chance at success. Being in school is a step towards academic success for these students. It is important that the students take advantage of the counselling services offered in their institutions to ensure that they deal with their challenges before the problem is magnified.  


The services provided within the universities and colleges have to be culturally sensitive. This means that the counsellors are not expected to be racist, sexist or people who judge and treat the students depending on their sexuality given the freedoms that are there in the society today.  The success of the mental health programs in colleges is dependent on the facilities that these institutions can afford to fund and run. It is important that in any case, the management of these institutions strive to provide the best service possible concerning mental health awareness. However, there have been challenges concerning mental health due to financial constraints. Universities and colleges have more cases of students with mental health challenges but the funding to hire professionals has been a challenge. It is for this reason that some of these institutions can only afford to pay therapists who can come to work between 10 am to 3 pm. These working hours are too few for the huge populations of these institutions today (Eistenberg, Hunt, Speer, & Zivin, 2011). Studies have attempted to find out the effectiveness of mental health services in universities. Students may have neglected to utilize these services from time to time for failure to know how important they were. The utilization indexes differed because the students were either not confident in the effectiveness or the quality of service being offered. This means that in some cases, the facilities have been there but not being used by the students. 

There are instances where students have had anxiety issues driven by the fact that they have challenges in their academic programs. For instance, there have been notable anxiety issues related to students in medical school and those with heavy mathematics requirements in their courses. These factors should be handled with care to ensure that the students are well adjusted for the pressure in their later years in terms of careers and living in society away from their families. Being a freshman is a challenge as the families often have high expectations. It is important that the freshmen get support from the institutions so that they can perform well. It is important that the families of the freshmen take part in easing the burden of mental health management that is mainly made the responsibility of the institutions of higher education. Creating awareness about the state of mental health in young people is important. Freshmen have challenges adapting to the university or college environment due to the nature of their previous school years where their families were supporting them and any mental health issues could be sorted from home.

In most of the research studies, there are gaps that a future research can fill. There was no mention of how institutions can solve the problem of therapists failing to respect the needs of students. For instance, the therapists can be racists and the students will not have an avenue to get help because they have nowhere else to seek help. There could cases of sexual harassment by the therapists and vulnerable students will suffer in silences. Anxiety is a serious issue and all institutions should treat it as such. The modes of help should be safe and transparent at all times. With adequate funding, institutions can establish the cases and find suitable coping solutions for their students. With increased knowledge in matters of anxiety, institutions can create and encourage conducive environments for the freshmen in their institutions.


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