More college students seeking help for mental health issues

We’re living in anxious times, and it’s taking a toll on teens and young adults.

More than 6 out of 10 college students report having “overwhelming anxiety.”  Some have difficulty functioning.  As a result, more are seeking treatment for mental health.

Brad Waldo knew he was supposed to be one of the lucky ones. In high school, he had a 4.0 grade point average, was on the football team, and popular.  But he was also struggling.

“For years, I was addicted to heroin and Xanax,” he said.

Brad’s addiction was rooted in anxiety and depression. And he’s not alone in feeling pressure. Sixty percent of college students suffer from anxiety or psychological distress.

“It was never even a discussion if I would go to college or not. And then there’s this other social stress. There’s always eyes on you for social media,” Brad said.

Newport Academy Executive Director Jennifer MacLeamy said “Really, loneliness and isolation is one of the things that we’re seeing more and more in both teens and young adults.”

But parents play an important role.

“For parents I would be aware of certain warning signs like withdrawal, changes in behavior from before – particularly around friends and school,” she said.

“I was at Newport Academy for 70 days,” Brad said. “I did outpatient therapy for a year, and then I’ve been engaged in therapy for the last eight years.”

Brad is now helping others who are struggling.

“It can be pretty remarkable the change that people make. I think of it kind of as almost an unveiling in returning back to who they really have the capacity to be.”

Seeking help is the first step.

Currently, more than 44 million American adults have a mental illness.