Students said they felt “overwhelmed” and “exhausted” by the pressures of their academic careers.
The Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS) and the Canadian Organization of University College Health (COUCH) have collected the largest amount of data ever on the mental and physical health of Canadian post-secondary students, surveying 30,000 students for a report with some surprising results.
According to the study, a large majority of students reported feeling overwhelmed by their academic careers and indicated feeling “very sad [and] lonely” over the past 12 months. The report also suggests that, contrary to stereotypes, Canadian college and university students are responsible drinkers, almost half have had one or less sexual partners in the past year and the majority have never smoked a cigarette or used marijuana.
The study indicates that:
- Over 85% of students said they felt “overwhelmed” and “exhausted” by the pressures of their academic careers, with almost 10% admitting they had “seriously considered suicide.” 37.5% reported that they had felt so depressed that they couldn’t function, with over half saying they felt “overwhelming anxiety” over the past 12 months.
- Over half the students surveyed said they had never used marijuana, and 70.8% had never smoked a cigarette. The participating students showed a high awareness of safety with alcohol, with over 80% saying they used a designated driver and stay with the same group of friends during the entire evening of drinking. Over 60% said they kept track of how much alcohol they were consuming during the evening, with over a third saying they determine beforehand how many drinks they will have and then do not exceed that limit.
- The overwhelming majority of students said they had no sexual partners (31.6%) or one sexual partner (45.8%) in the past 12 months. However, only slightly over half of students said they used a method of contraceptive when they last had vaginal intercourse, with 42.1% saying they used none or didn’t know. Birth control pills and male condoms still remain the two most popular contraceptive choices, with over 60% saying they had used one or both to prevent pregnancy.
The complete findings can be downloaded from the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services’ website.