In a new paper, scholars say depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues are more common than ever before, and that people of color are impacted most.

The data are from surveys, and young people have always felt a need to 'live in important times' and believe everything is different than any other generation faced, but young people today went through an economic meltdown and then a pandemic, with all of the resulting media attention and worry that entailed. The Healthy Minds Network pool was between 2013 and 2021 from 350,000 students at over 300 campuses. 

They found that the mental health of college students across the United States has been on a consistent decline for all eight years of data analyzed, with an overall 135 percent increase in depression and 110 percent increase in anxiety from 2013 to 2021; the number of students who met the criteria for one or more mental health problems in 2021 had doubled from 2013. 

American Indian/Alaskan Native college students reported the largest increases in depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and other mental health problems, as well as the largest decreases in flourishing. Back in 2016, about a third of American Indian/Alaskan Native students screened positive for depression, a similar level to other racial and ethnic groups in the study. But by the 2019 and 2020 semesters, half of those respondents were screening positive for depression.

Arab American students experienced a 22 percent jump in mental health issues, but had an 18 percent decrease in treatment over the eight years of the study, 

For white students, the prevalence of non-suicidal self-injury and symptoms of eating disorders increased most significantly compared to other groups. In all other categories—depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and one or more mental health problems—increases were seen the most among non-white students. During the semesters of the COVID-19 pandemic, American Indian/Alaskan Native students and Asian/Pacific Islander/Desi American (APIDA) students reported the most significant increases in mental health concerns, according to the data.