Why Are So Many College Students Depressed?

Why Are So Many College Students Depressed?

TIME Magazine recently ran an article on the soaring rate of depression among college students in the United States. It began with these words, “Record numbers of college students are seeking treatment for depression and anxiety. Schools can’t keep up.”

The stats from the American College Health Association – from 92 schools – are startling. Consider:
1) There was a 30% increase from 2009 to 2015, of college students seeking on-campus counseling services
2) A whopping 39% of college students said they felt so depressed that they found it difficult to function
3) A staggering 61% of college students said they’ve felt overwhelming anxiety in the past twelve months.
4) 10% considered suicide.

One freshman at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute said this, “I think I needed something that the university just wasn’t offering”. From a biblical worldview, she is spot on. She needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She needs an encounter with the living God. She needs the experience of being forgiven, redeemed, and reconciled to her Creator. While there are certainly pockets of believers on university and college campuses, Gospel encounters are increasingly absent on college campuses; even on Christian college campuses. God has been shut out.

What’s fascinating is that, historically, revival movements of God’s Spirit often began on college campuses. For example, Yale University saw several clear revivals between 1802-1858. These are documented movements of God’s Spirit among the student body and faculty. A classic example was in 1802 when one-third of the Yale student body, then numbering 230, professed new faith in Christ. An 1815 revival at Yale spread to Dartmouth and Princeton. (cf A God Sized Vision: Collin Hansen & John Woodbridge; Zondervan 2010). What college students desperately need today is a fresh movement of God’s Spirit. What they are hungering for is spiritual reality, and a relationship with their God. Until they have such an encounter, they will continue to: seek therapy, get drunk, chase after illicit sexual encounters, numb-out on Facebook, or reach for the Xanax bottle. May the Lord of the harvest move among us once again. Let us pray that a fresh round of Gospel revivals breaks out on college campuses once again!

by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor