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Sharon Fisher
American College Health Association


American College Health Association Survey Shows Increase
of Depression Among College Students Over Four-Year Period

Baltimore, MD -- November 18, 2004 -- The number of students who reported "having ever been diagnosed with depression" has increased by 4.6 percentage points over a four-year time span, according to the latest results from the American College Health Association's National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA).

In the Spring 2000 ACHA-NCHA, 10.3% of students reported that they had ever been diagnosed with depression. In the Spring 2004 ACHA-NCHA Reference Group Report, released this month, 14.9% of students reported that they had ever been diagnosed with depression, out of a sample of 47,202 students at 74 campuses from across the country.

Of the 14.9% of students who reported having ever been diagnosed with depression, 25.2% said they are currently in therapy for depression, and 38% said they are currently taking medication for depression. Almost 40% of men and 50% of women reported feeling so depressed that they had difficulty functioning one or more times during the last school year.

This data recognizes that there is a clear need for colleges and universities to continue to deliver, or increase their capacity to deliver, campus mental health services. "Clinical depression often first appears in adolescence and mood disorders in college are very prevalent and can be life-threatening," said Joetta L. Carr, PhD, chair of the American College Health Association's Mental Health Section. "The good news is that a number of these depressed students can receive counseling services at many college health and counseling centers, enabling them to be successful in their college careers."

The American College Health Association organized the ACHA-NCHA to assist health service providers, faculty, researchers, and student affairs professionals in collecting data about students' habits, behaviors, and perceptions on the most prevalent health topics of the day: alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use; mental and physical health; weight, nutrition, and exercise; personal safety and violence; and sexual health. The survey provides the largest known comprehensive data set on the health of college students -- more than 160,000 students at 274 colleges and universities have participated over nine survey periods.

The American College Health Association, the nation's principal advocate and leadership organization for college and university health, represents a diverse membership that provides and supports the delivery of health care and prevention and wellness services for the nation's college students. Ongoing efforts such as the ACHA-NCHA help the association advocate for student health by integrating the critical role of college health into the mission of higher education. For more information, visit



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