As growing numbers of young people report struggling with mental health issues, colleges and universities across the United States are working to meet their students' needs.
But a new study suggests that one group of students is facing these issues more than any other: transgender students. And some experts worry that many schools may not be doing enough to meet their needs.
Transgender people are people who no longer identify with their sex from birth. They feel they are really members of the opposite sex. Many often change their name, appearance and even undergo medical treatments to help match, or keep up with, the way they feel.
In 2016, about 1.4 million Americans identified themselves as transgender. That number comes from the Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles' School of Law.
Earlier research has shown a growing number of U.S. college students have reported depression, anxiety or other mental health issues in recent years. This latest study attempts to examine the specific problems transgender students face. The findings were published last month in The American Journal of Preventative Medicine.
Researchers looked at information from an internet-based survey called the Healthy Minds Study. It involved 65,000 adults who studied at 71 U.S. colleges and universities between 2015 and 2017. All of them were questioned about their mental health.
Out of that group, about 1,200 students reported having an alternate gender identity, meaning they do not identify with their birth sex. The researchers found that almost 80 percent of those students reported dealing with at least one mental health issue. For comparison purposes, 45 percent of cisgender students -- those who identified as their birth sex -- reported having a mental health issue.
Schools must employ physical and mental health experts who understand the issues transgender students face. But they also must teach cisgender students, professors and employees to be accepting of and communicate with trans students in ways that make them feel welcome.