Dean of Students at UNO: Social Anxiety & Depression Involving College Students is Cause for Concern

Oct. 8, 2021, 2:54 p.m. ·

Cathy Pettid speaks about mental health concerns at Friday's Board of Regents meeting.
Cathy Pettid with UNO says the pandemic heightened mental health issues in young people, which was already a concern before the pandemic. (Photo courtesy of NU YouTube)

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents received an update on student mental health across the university system at its meeting Friday.

Cathy Pettid, the dean of students for the University of Nebraska at Omaha, said instructors are hearing about increasing mental health burdens from students. Additionally, she said social anxiety is a growing issue, especially during the pandemic.

"Now (there's) a generation of students who lost their senior year in high school, who lost their junior year, who lost their freshman year," she said. "Some of those developmental milestones, they spent in their bedroom on Zoom. We have a deficit in social skills (among students).”

Pettid said students aren’t getting involved as much, leading to boredom and loneliness. She says that’s leading to poor decisions such as substance abuse among some students.

More and more students have been willing to reach out for help and Pettid said this is a positive trend. There are options for students who are dealing with mental health issues across the university’s campuses.

For details on mental health services at the University of Nebraska's four campuses visit these links for UNL, UNO, UNK, and UNMC.