High school and college students are at risk for untreated mental illness

The transition to college is a time of increased stress and decreased support.

For many young adults, the transition to college involves a weakening of the support network offered by friends and family. College students are often living away from home for the first time. They have less contact with high school friends who attend other institutions. College itself presents an unfamiliar learning environment, with more demanding coursework contributing to stress. The combination of increased stress and weakened support can have a negative impact on students’ mental health.

Eating disorders involve abnormal eating habits that threaten a person’s physical or mental health. The best-known examples include anorexia nervosa (where people eat very little) and bulimia nervosa (where people eat a lot and then try to rid themselves of the food). Eating disorders often occur alongside anxiety disorders, depression, and substance abuse disorders.

25% of college-aged women engage in bingeing and purging as a weight-management technique. In a survey of 185 female students on a college campus, 58% felt pressure to be a certain weight, and of the 83% that dieted for weight loss, 44% were of normal weight.


Eating disorders are serious but treatable mental and physical illnesses that can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights. In the United States, 28.8 million Americans will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives.

– NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association)

          • Eating disorders are deadliest mental illness
          • Every 52 minutes someone will dies as a result of an eating disorder.
          • 9 percent of the entire world suffers from an eating disorder.

          Eating Disorder Resources

          NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association)


          For 24/7 crisis support, text ‘NEDA’ to 741741

          SafeTEA Podcast

          Listen to our podcast episode on Eating Disorders and hear from a survivor.

          Season 2, Episode 13, “No Body is Perfect” 

          College Counseling Services

          Talk to someone who cares. Don’t be afraid to get help when you need it. Learn how to contact your college’s counseling services .

          About Rachael’s First Week

          Rachael’s First Week LIVE! is a program dedicated to protecting the lives of high school seniors and college freshmen as they transition into young adult women and men. 

          These can be tumultuous years when peers often look to each other for guidance as they encounter novel and potentially dangerous situations, rather than engaging experienced mentors to provide solutions. 

          The mission of Rachael’s First Week is to develop the decision-making skills of teens as they enter this time of monumental change in their lives.


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          ©2024 Rachael's First Week