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But in this Psychology Today article, Loretta G. Breuning, a professor emerita of management at California State University East Bay, offers a different explanation. She argues that rising emotional distress is in part due to over-reliance on mental health services to alleviate natural emotional responses. As a result, Breuning says, individuals don’t learn how to manage life’s disappointments, and often lack self-reliance.

And health professionals may themselves be to blame for the belief that there is a “crisis” of mental instability on campus. Breuning claims that such professionals have overstated mental health statistics to justify requests for increased funding—a sentiment echoed by Jesse Singal in a New York magazine article titled “The Myth of the Ever-More-Fragile College Student.”

According to Singal, “college counselors are so convinced [students’] mental health is getting worse that it’s become dogma in some quarters.” He references a study of a “private, moderate-sized university located in the northeastern United States,” published in the Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, that found no evidence that students’ psychological problems had increased over a recent fifteen-year span.

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