Mental health’s toll on graduation

Written by: Libby Thoma | Staff Writer

Content warning: this article contains mentions of mental health struggles.

Mental health struggles may have major effects on the quality of life a person can achieve. Studies have indicated that college students with mental health struggles are significantly more likely to drop out than those who do not struggle. According to CNN, about 75 percent of mental health problems begin to emerge in a person’s 20s. 

According to the American Psychological Association, 60 percent of college students meet the criteria for at least one mental illness. This entails 60 percent of college students having a 5 percent chance of dropping out. Dropping out of college may lead to lower-level jobs with a correlation to a decrease in pay. Along with this prevalent fact, many consider education to be important for everyone, and those with a mental illness should not have to face more educational barriers than others. 

Madeline Hulme of the University of New Mexico described her experience having bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder while being enrolled in a full course load. “I don’t want to get out of bed, I don’t feel like I belong in a University setting because I feel like everyone is judging me constantly,” said Hulme. 

This form of judgment assumedly raising dropout rates is also spoken about in the aforementioned CNN article, “I felt like it was fake for me to be there. That I wasn’t good enough to get a degree and it was really hard for me to keep going.” 

Hulme then explained that she considers dropping out three to five times per semester due to “…the workload, the ability to not understand the material and think(ing) I’m not good enough to graduate.” Furthermore, Hulme added, “I would cry a lot about not being able to understand the college setting.”

Madeline Hulme graduates in two weeks and is headed to graduate school for a degree in Cognitive Neuroscience.
Find help for mental illness struggles through Western’s own Abby’s House. Consider reaching out for support — no one gets through hardship alone. 

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