Study ranks Utah #1 for mental illness in the US

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BYU is encouraging students to visit their free mental health services after Utah ranked first in highest levels of mental illness, according to a study by NiceRX.

The study said that in state of Utah, 29.65% of adults who have suffered from any mental illness have received a diagnosis within the past year.

According to the study, “mental health is something that many people struggle with, and this has only been exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic.”

BYU offers many different mental health services to students and staff, including therapy at Counseling and Psychological Services, access to the app “WellTrack” and accommodations at the University Accessibility Center.

BYU junior Meilin Whalen described her first semester at BYU as emotionally, mentally and academically drowning. She said she later learned about the UAC and was able to receive help from them. “I still use their accommodation letters to help me with my classes,” Whalen said.

Recent BYU graduate Connor Freeman said he felt pressure during his time at the university.

“I spent a lot of my teenage years dealing with the mental health ramifications of perfectionistic attitudes,” Freeman said. “I had made a good deal of progress, but when I came to BYU it felt like some of those attitudes returned.”

The Marriott School of Management is one of the top business schools in the nation, and many of the programs within the Marriott School of Business are highly ranked — such as accounting and entrepreneurship. According to Freeman, these awards bring a burden to keeping the rankings.

“I think a BYU student has more to worry about than your average college student,” Freeman said. “You have to keep tabs on not just your grades, but make sure your moral behavior aligns with a specified code of conduct. It can feel like a lot.”

BYU offers several different services on campus to deal with the stressors of life and school and some students, like BYU student Andrew Phan, have had a struggle with these services. 

Phan said he tried to schedule a therapy appointment with CAPS and was put on a waiting list. “Aid is not as readily available as it should be,” Phan said. “BYU offers a lot of services, but a lot of students are trying to use them all at once. It can be hard to be seen if you aren’t the first one in their office.” 

Over 30,000 students attend BYU. To help BYU combat Utah’s mental health crisis, students and staff can reach out early to both on- and off-campus services.

“The University Accessibility Center partners with the campus community to connect students to effective accessibility-related resources that mitigate barriers and facilitate access to all opportunities at BYU,” according to the UAC mission statement. In addition, CAPS promises to “Provide wellness programming and mental health treatment aimed at promoting positive mental health on campus.”

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