College students represent our hope for the future, and they need fresh, motivated minds as they learn more about themselves, pursue their educational interests, and begin to solidify who they want to be in the world. College can be a place of inspiration, creativity, and exciting growth as students. Yet, the changes associated with transitioning into college, living independently, exploring new friendships, and taking on increasingly challenging responsibilities and academic demands also can be overwhelming.

A new study by the World Health Organization highlights the disheartening fact that many college students are struggling mightily with mental health issues, particularly during their first year of school. One out of three freshmen around the world, for example, are living with symptoms of an anxiety, depression, or a substance use disorder, and this is especially true for transgender students and those over 20 years old. The study included nearly 14,000 freshmen from colleges in eight different industrialized countries around the world including the United States.

While it’s not uncommon to feel uncertain and stressed out after taking such a big developmental step in life, if your difficulties are undermining your school performance, limiting your quality of life, or negatively affecting your relationships, it’s important to take action now. Left untreated, serious mental health concerns can become incapacitating and even life-threatening.

Thankfully, you aren’t alone. If you’re having a really hard time in college, and you’re reading this, we’re here for you. Spark Center is launching a weekly skills building/process group IN-BETWEEN: BECOMING AN ASSERTIVE ADULT for young adults (18-24) that will focus on practicing effective ways to deal with the transition into adulthood, including managing anxiety, reducing vulnerability to depression, increasing skillful responses to challenging school/life situations, developing self-awareness, decreasing impulsivity, and adaptively navigating interpersonal conflict. We’ll help you build the resilience, competency, and mindset that are aligned with academic success, emotional confidence, and secure relationships.

Contact Jasminka Rainey, ASW at for more information.

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