College students and mental health: Does geography play a role?

Berkeley, CA has some of the most stressed college students in the nation, which is home to the University of California, Berkeley.

It’s no surprise that college students have it rough. On top of their already burdensome course loads, they’re now battling rising inflation, enrollment costs, and one issue that affects all areas of an individual’s life: mental health.

It’s become the number one priority among college students, according to a recent survey by TimelyMD. Of the 1,200 students surveyed, nearly three-quarters (71%) reported currently experiencing some form of mental illness, such as stress, anxiety or depression. Thankfully, 70% of students said their educational institution was meeting their emotional needs through the school’s mental health services.

But what causes this stress? Perhaps the location of an institution coupled with its intensity?

Preply, a language learning app and e-learning platform, analyzed tweets from college students across 150 cities that were created during the first three months of the fall semester (August 1st – October 1st). Using this data, they found that certain college towns are home to some of the most stressed-out students in the country. The University of California in Berkeley, CA, for example, is known for its reputation as the “workaholic” UC campus, thus making it the most stressed college town in the U.S.

Here are the 15 most stressed college towns and their associated universities in the U.S.

  1. Berkeley, CA – University of California (Berkeley): 42.7% of stressed tweets
  2. Cambridge, MA – Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lesley University: 34.5% of stressed tweets
  3. Iowa City, IA – University of Iowa: 30.9% of stressed tweets
  4. (Tied for 3rd) College Park, MD – University of Maryland (College Park): 30.9% of stressed tweets
  5. East Lansing, MI – Michigan State University: 30.4% of stressed tweets
  6. Stanford, CA – Stanford University: 30.3% of stressed tweets
  7. Ann Arbor, MI – University of Michigan (Ann Arbor): 29.7% of stressed tweets
  8. Charlottesville, VA – University of Virginia: 29.4% of stressed tweets
  9. Notre Dame, IN – University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College: 29.2% of stressed tweets
  10. Ithaca, New York – Cornell University, Ithaca College: 29.1% of stressed tweets
  11. Provo, UT – Brigham Young University: 28.7% of stressed tweets
  12. Auburn, AL  – Auburn University: 28.2% of stressed tweets
  13. Davis, CA – University of California (Davis): 28.1% of stressed tweets
  14. Boulder, CO – University of Colorado (Boulder): 27.2% of stressed tweets
  15. Newark, NJ – University of Delaware: 27.1% of stressed tweets

More from UB: Socioeconomic disparities are top concern for college enrollment, per report

Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a University Business staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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