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U.S. college students feeling overwhelming anxiety as of fall 2018

During the fall of 2018, 29.5 percent of college students in the U.S. reported that they had felt overwhelming anxiety within the past 2 weeks, and 18.9 percent reported experiencing anxiety in the past year. This statistic presents the percentage of college students in the U.S. who had ever felt overwhelming anxiety as of fall 2018.

College students’ mental health

In 2018, anxiety and depression were the top two concerns for college students seeking help for mental health, and over half of college students reported having ever felt too depressed to function. The transition to college often involves many stressful changes in environment, responsibilities, and roles, which can lead to the first onset and exacerbation of mental health issues. Unfortunately, college students also often turn to maladaptive coping mechanisms such as substance use, unhealthy eating patterns, and self-harming behaviors in order to deal with the ongoing feelings of frustration, hopelessness, or helplessness that go hand-in-hand with depression and anxiety.


Many college and universities in the U.S. offer information and services for a variety of health concerns, including mental health. In 2018, nearly 80 percent of college students reported that they had received information on substance use and 70 percent indicated that they were given information on depression and anxiety. Moreover, seeing a therapist and utilizing college counseling services were the top avenues for receiving mental health care among college students. Along with strategies to cope with stressors, important treatment methods for college students also include motivational interviewing and the involvement of parents and family.

Percentage of U.S. college students that had ever felt overwhelming anxiety as of fall 2018

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Release date

January 2019


United States

Survey time period

Fall 2018

Number of respondents

26,181 students

Age group

18 years and older

Special properties

40 schools

Supplementary notes

Original question: "Have you ever felt overwhelming anxiety?"

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Statistics on "Anxiety in the U.S."

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