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Tougher standards send more OSU students to counselors


COLUMBUS — Tougher academic standards are creating a side effect at The Ohio State University — more students seeking psychiatric counseling.

In the year that ended June 30, a record 2,722 students sought help from the university’s Counseling and Consultation Service — a 17 percent increase over the previous year.

The numbers started going up three years ago and have increased as the university has implemented tougher admission and academic standards, said Louise Douce, the service’s director.

“Anxiety is what has risen the fastest among OSU students and, as we have become more academically able, anxiety has gone up,” she said.

Depression is the most mentioned reason among students seeking counseling, followed by anxiety, relationship concerns, academic performance and family concerns.

Ohio State’s increase is in line with national studies that show growing numbers of college students seeking counseling. A survey taken last fall by the American College Health Association found that 12.7 percent of college students experienced an anxiety disorder in the previous 12 months, up from 8.7 percent six years earlier.

The survey found that 15.2 percent of students said depression, seasonal affective disorder or anxiety had affected their academic performance, up from 11.2 percent in 2000.

“During peak times (November, February and March), the wait has gotten up to six weeks,” Douce said. “It’s really not acceptable in a college environment that has a quarter system.”

The center has hired a full-time psychologist who is to start in September. Two graduate students also will provide support until the center hires a full-time social worker or counselor. 

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