ADAA produces a short film showing how college students suffering from anxiety and depressive disorders find relief with help from counselors and other mental health professionals.
“Glass People,” a new short film, focuses on a college student who becomes overwhelmed by finals, his relationship, graduation, the prospect of looking for a job, and other real-world pressures. When he sees a counselor for help, his life begins to turn around.
“The film’s message is that reaching out and seeking help from a professional can make a difference,” said Mark Pollack, MD, ADAA president-elect and chair of psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center.
The onset of many anxiety and depressive disorders commonly begins during the late teen years. More than 62 percent of students who withdrew from college with mental health problems did so for that reason, according to a 2011 national survey.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) premiered “Glass People” in April at its annual conference with help from David Hoberman, film and television producer, president and founder of Mandeville Films and ADAA honorary board member, who provided a generous gift to produce the film for ADAA.
“When I was in college,” Hoberman told the audience at the premiere, “I was afraid to ask for help. I thought I was the only with these feelings. Educating people about how to find help is our goal.” Many young people begin experiencing symptoms associated with anxiety disorders or depression in college, and they commonly feel isolated, frightened and embarrassed. Some begin to withdraw as a sense of helplessness overwhelms them.
One-third of college students reported having felt depressed at some point in the past three months, according to a 2008 Associated Press and mtvU survey. Additional findings are also telling:
- 80 percent said they frequently or sometimes experience daily stress.
- 13 percent had been diagnosed with a mental health condition such as an anxiety disorder or depression.
- 9 percent had seriously considered suicide in the past year.
Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems on college campuses. Suffered by 40 million U.S. adults, 75 percent of them first experienced anxiety by age 22. Research indicates that the co-occurrence of anxiety and depression increases the risk of suicide. Having a preexisting anxiety disorder is a risk factor for the onset of suicidal ideation and attempts. “This new film helps us educate college students, their friends, family and professors about the importance of seeking treatment,” said Pollack.
Since 2006 ADAA has distributed materials about the importance of seeking treatment for anxiety disorders to college campuses across the country. ADAA co-sponsors National Stress Øut Day with Active Minds, Inc., and Beyond OCD every spring to provide pre-finals stress relief to college students, while educating them about anxiety, depression and other disorders.
“Glass People” was written by John Berardo and Brian Frager; Magee Clegg and Jack Heston also served as producers. Berardo, who also directed the film, and Frager are MFA students at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Watch “Glass People” on the ADAA website.