Counselling services at college have doubled because of 'neediness', claims Peter Gray | Daily Mail Online

By Wills Robinson For

Published: 10:53 EST, 11 October 2015 | Updated: 12:05 EST, 11 October 2015




College students are seeking counselling at an unprecedented rate because they are having 'emotional crises' over everyday life, a psychologist has claimed.

Peter Gray said he was invited to a major university to talk about student resilience and found counselling services had conducted twice as many appointments in recent years because of increasing 'neediness'. 

The Boston College Professor added that faculty members are now afraid to give low grades because of 'emotional fragility'.

They also feel like they have to do more 'hand-holding' and avoid challenging their students as a result, he claims.  

A psychologist has claimed that college students are seeking counselling more often because they are having 'emotional crises' over everyday life (file picture)

In an article for Psychology Today, he cited two examples where students had asked for counselling.

One sought help after her roommate called her a 'b**ch' while two others saw a counselor because there was a mouse in their off-campus apartment. 

The pair even called the police after seeing the rodent. 

Gray wrote: 'Many students, they said, now view a C, or sometimes even a B, as failure, and they interpret such “failure” as the end of the world. 

'Faculty also noted an increased tendency for students to blame them (the faculty) for low grades—they weren’t explicit enough in telling the students just what the test would cover or just what would distinguish a good paper from a bad one.'

He added that students now see a poor grade as a reason to complain rather than study more.

Peter Gray, a professor at Boston College, said student counselling services across the country have conducted twice as many appointments in recent years

Staff members are now faced with the dilemma of whether they should give in to this mentality or tell them: 'Buck up, this is college.' 

The head of counselling services at a major university wrote to him in an email: 'There has been an increase in diagnosable mental problems, but there has also been a decrease in the ability of many young people to manage the everyday bumps in the road of life. 

'Whether we want it or not, these students are bringing their struggles to their teachers and others on campus who deal with students on a day-to-day basis. 

'The lack of resilience is interfering with the academic mission of the University and is thwarting the emotional and personal development of students.'

Dan Jones, past president of the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, told the Chronicle of Higher Education: '[Students] haven’t developed skills in how to soothe themselves, because their parents have solved all their problems and removed the obstacles. 

'They don’t seem to have as much grit as previous generations.'

Rob Wilson reinforced this claim in his article: An Epidemic of Anguish: Overwhelmed by Demand for Mental-Health Care, Colleges Face Conflicts in Choosing How to Respond

In the Chronicle, he wrote: 'Families often expect campuses to provide immediate, sophisticated, and sustained mental-health care. 

'After all, most parents are still adjusting to the idea that their children no longer come home every night, and many want colleges to keep an eye on their kids, just as they did. 

'Students, too, want colleges to give them the help they need, when they need it. And they need a lot. 

'Rates of anxiety and depression among American college students have soared in the last decade, and many more students than in the past come to campus already on medication for such illnesses. 

'The number of students with suicidal thoughts has risen as well. Some are dealing with serious issues, such as psychosis, which typically presents itself in young adulthood, just when students are going off to college. 

'Many others, though, are struggling with what campus counselors say are the usual stresses of college life: bad grades, breakups, being on their own for the first time. And they are putting a strain on counseling centers.'

Share or comment on this article