A file photo shows the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Dr. Anthony Rostain, co-author of The Stressed Years of Their Lives, says today’s college students are experiencing an “inordinate amount of anxiety.” Lisa Poole/AP
May 28, 20192:44 PM ET Heard on Fresh Air
As colleges and universities across the country report an explosion of mental health problems, a new book argues that college life may be more stressful than ever. Dr. Anthony Rostain, co-author of The Stressed Years of Their Lives, notes that today’s college students are experiencing an “inordinate amount of anxiety” — much of it centered on “surviving college and doing well.”
“What we’re seeing now are growing numbers of students coming [onto] campus who are already being treated for mental illness, or who are on various medications and who really have learned to manage their illnesses at home,” he says, “but suddenly they’re on their own and sometimes they’re not following through [with] their own recommended treatments.”
Rostain is a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and the former chair of the school’s Task Force on Student Psychological Health and Welfare. His co-author, B. Janet Hibbs, is a family and couples psychotherapist whose son took a medical leave of absence during his first college spring break to deal with anxiety and depression. Hibbs faced a difficult set of choices: she wanted to best parent her son as he struggled, but she also wanted his life to stay on track.