A couple of weeks ago I was able to give a presentation on co-occurring statistics for college age students to a university who has a specific focus on addressing domestic violence on their campus. I feel like young adult or college pastors could also greatly benefit from this as there are some startling statistics with it. There are no college age statistics for co-occurring within the Church but we can at least correlate between the statistics.
I want to ask a couple of questions for you to think about while I present the data below with regards to your church or community:
- Do you know the percentages of students who struggle with mental illness and substance use?
- Do you have any prevention or education initiatives for larger groups or individual people who may be struggling?
- Are staff able to not only do good self-care for themselves within COVID, but also able to identify signs and symptoms within students?
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) creates an annual report called the National Survey on Drug Use and Health to discover trends with mental health and substance use.
- We have seen a consistent significant uptick of Alcohol use Disorders from 12-17 years (414 thousand) to when they transition to 18-25 year olds (3.1 million), in the order of nearly 750% increase.
- Similar with opioid misuse (though numbers are much better) with an increase from 12-17 (567 thousand) to when they transition to 18-25 years old (1.8 million), an increase of more than 300% but reduced for college age students by 30% since 2017
- Similar with marijuana use, with an increase from 12-17 (1.8 million) to when they transition to 18-25 years old (7.7 million), an increase of more than 425%, including 2.5 million with daily use.
- Cocaine sees the same thing with currently 540 thousand college students using it, Methamphetamines seeing 275 thousand college students using it, and LSD seeing 1.2 million college students using it.
With regards to serious mental illness, just in 2019, (so think before COVID and the trauma this has brought) 18-25 year olds are the highest with regards percentages with 8.6% having a serious mental illness, up nearly 50% from 2016, and 43.6% of them receiving NO treatment during this time of their lives. 5.0 million college students (15.2%) struggle with depression with women having nearly twice as many people identified with the diagnosis than men at this age. Further 3.9 million college age students (11.8%) have had serious thoughts of suicide, 1.3 million (3.9%) having made a plan, and 604 thousand (1.8%) of students attempting.
The numbers for people using multiple substances is not insignificant (p. 36) and also those having a serious mental health diagnosis while misusing substances (co-occurring) is 2.6 million at 7.6% Unfortunately, we know that with adults, 55.2% of people with mental illness do not receive treatment, a bit higher than college age students. We do not have separate statistics for college age with substance use and co-occurring, but 89.7% of people with a substance use disorder do not receive any treatment (including jail, AA groups, or inpatient and outpatient treatment) and 90.1% of people with co-occurring diagnoses. The consequences of mental health and substance misuse include a significant increase in drop outs or poor course work, increased suicides of students and therefore trauma events for whole campuses for both students and teachers, poor student retention can mean losses in tuition, fees, alumni donations, negative community impact, and decrease in employment with graduates.
So what do you think about college students and co-occurring concerns? Do you see this within your church? And what other statistics do you feel are appropriate to research?