Mental health issues and sexual assault reports surge at U of M

Mental health issues and sexual assault reports surge at U of M Photo: KSTP/File

December 02, 2018 08:06 PM

A new University of Minnesota study shows that students are reporting sexual assault and depression on campus at an increased rate, according to a recently released survey.

The Minnesota Daily reports that the College Student Health Survey found a significant surge in students reporting mental health issues and sexual assault at the University.

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The most common culprits of sexual harassment that U of M students cited were fellow students.

There have been approximately 39 percent of women and around 16 percent of men at the University alleging they have been sexually assaulted.


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One public health expert cites increased awareness in the public identifying sexual assault as a primary reason for more students speaking out.

"The data that we're seeing now and in the past two years are more accurate numbers of what has been going on for quite a long time," said Katie Eichele, the director of the Aurora Center.

Stigmas surrounding mental health have also been challenged, with the survey showing an increase in mental health diagnosis on campus between 2015 and 2018, rising from 33 percent to 42 percent.

Most students reporting mental health issues recognized depression, anxiety and panic attacks as the chief causes of their diagnoses.

"For some people who may have a tendency towards anxiety and depression, (social media may) depict a world in which all of their friends are doing a whole hell of a lot better than they are," said John Finnegan, dean of the School of Public Health. "You're constantly comparing."

The survey's conclusions, however, are not as troublesome as they appear, according to Finnegan. He believes students are simply destigmatizing mental health conditions and seeking more help than before.

"(With) Generation Z and millennials, there's a whole lot less stigma to dealing with mental health issues," Finnegan said. "I look at that as a real plus."

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Credits

The Associated Press

(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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