Around one third of university students in Iceland show symptoms of depression, according to the results of a study on the mental health of students at the University of Iceland, Reykjavík University, and the University of Akureyri. RÚV morning radio spoke with two psychologists involved with the study.
“The most important thing that we found is that a large proportion of university students are dealing with mental illness, particularly anxiety and depression. About 34 percent of students were found to be above the clinical threshold for depression and about 19 percent above the threshold for anxiety,” said psychologist Andri Hauksteinn Oddsson.
Although the severity of the symptoms found ranged greatly, Andri points out that such a high proportion should be taken seriously.
Psychologist Halldóra Björg Rafnsdóttir says the results are comparable to those of similar studies conducted abroad. In Iceland, studies on mental health have previously focused on younger and older groups, while the university-age demographic has not been studied before. Andri states that although university students are often considered a privileged group, the university environment can be demanding and challenging.
Both psychologists say many suffering from mental illness avoid seeking help due to shame. “We need to try to insist more strongly that there is nothing wrong with seeking help,” added Andri.