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Although there is growing interest in mental health problems in university students there is limited understanding of the scope of need and determinants to inform intervention efforts.
To longitudinally examine the extent and persistence of mental health symptoms and the importance of psychosocial and lifestyle factors for student mental health and academic outcomes.
Undergraduates at a Canadian university were invited to complete electronic surveys at entry and completion of their first year. The baseline survey measured important distal and proximal risk factors and the follow-up assessed mental health and well-being. Surveys were linked to academic grades. Multivariable models of risk factors and mental health and academic outcomes were fit and adjusted for confounders.
In 1530 students surveyed at entry to university 28% and 33% screened positive for clinically significant depressive and anxiety symptoms respectively, which increased to 36% and 39% at the completion of first year. Over the academic year, 14% of students reported suicidal thoughts and 1.6% suicide attempts. Moreover, there was persistence and overlap in these mental health outcomes. Modifiable psychosocial and lifestyle factors at entry were associated with positive screens for mental health outcomes at completion of first year, while anxiety and depressive symptoms were associated with lower grades and university well-being.
Clinically significant mental health symptoms are common and persistent among first-year university students and have a negative impact on academic performance and well-being. A comprehensive mental health strategy that includes a whole university approach to prevention and targeted early-intervention measures and associated research is justified.
The term mild cognitive impairment has been associated with a varying degree of clinical utility and controversy. The concept has been introduced to try and define a pre-dementia period associated with underlying neurodegenerative pathology and a higher likelihood of the person developing a dementia syndrome. As scientific understanding improves then the definition of MCI rightly adapts, meaning that the MCI concept is prone quite rightly to frequent evolution. We consider that we are a long way away from the concept having evolved to a point where it can be embedded with confidence in clinical practice as a diagnosis but should remain as a term primarily for use in research.
Free Expression and Democracy takes on the assumption that limits on free expression will lead to authoritarianism or at least a weakening of democracy. That hypothesis is tested by an examination of issues involving expression and their treatment in countries included on The Economist's list of fully functioning democracies. Generally speaking, other countries allow prohibitions on hate speech, limits on third-party spending on elections, and the protection of children from media influences seen as harmful. Many ban Holocaust denial and the desecration of national symbols. Yet, these other countries all remain democratic, and most of those considered rank more highly than the United States on the democracy index. This book argues that while there may be other cultural values that call for more expansive protection of expression, that protection need not reach the level present in the United States in order to protect the democratic nature of a country.