Psychological distress among university female students and their need for mental health services.J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2013 Oct; 20(8):672-8.JP
Psychological distress among university students, especially young women, is of increasing concern. This study focuses on the prevalence of psychological distress among female university students and their need for mental health services. The analysis is based on two cross-sectional surveys, an internet survey among women students attending the University of Iceland in the spring of 2007, and a postal survey of Icelandic female adults conducted in the Fall of 2006. Psychological distress was measured with the Symptom Checklist-90 Depression and Anxiety subscales. The prevalence of above-threshold depression and anxiety among the university women students was 22.5% and 21.2% respectively. Results showed that the mean depression score was significantly lower among the students than among women of the same age in the general population. However, little less than one-third of students with elevated distress levels received any professional help. Only 1.4% of the distressed students received mental help care from nurses. The high proportion of distressed female students not receiving professional help is a challenge to the primary health-care system and the nursing profession. This also raises questions about the adequacy of the current system of health-care delivery and the potential advantages of on-campus health services, in closer proximity to the students.