I'm curious what the rate is. Though population rate is 10% for bipolar and major depression combined, the issue seems kind of invisible on college campuses.
After I got discharged from my second hospitalisation, and had to figure out how to tell people why I was skipping a whole semester of school (I was still working in school for research), I dropped little clues that certain people picked up very easily, though others wouldn't get it.
Two of my friends confided in me about their hallucinations. One of them was very popular, gregarious, charismatic, and put-together, though the school doctors had tried to diagnose her with schizophrenia. (She rejected medication.) "Those doctors," she would say, "seem to have one paradigm for dealing with everything." Her strategy was to avoid being alone whenever possible, since her states would present itself only in extended periods of seclusion. (I don't blame her-- antipsychotics have potent side effects.) The other friend's confession occurred when we were both drunk during karaoke night during a "how are things?" conversation became medical. He had been diagnosed with bipolar since a teen but as an artist eschewed medication, and dealt with really strong suicidal impulses every other day. But from the outside you wouldn't suspect a thing.
Later I was surprised to find out that another friend who I had thought of as sociable and happy had been hospitalised for a suicide attempt in her room (in my dorm / residential college); then my poetry/literature friend (who I thought as a fairly cool, not depressive person) confessed she thought of suicide fairly regularly; two of my townie student friends told me they took the same medication as me (Wellbutrin).
These revelations kind of stunned me-- before my hospitalisation I thought I was alone in my "pursuit of happiness problem" (which I didn't equate to depression), and though I semiconsciously thought it would be like to die regularly I didn't think it was a problem severe enough to warrant intervention. In the drug commercials they always showed a sort of a dramatic gloom, not the sensory numbness I had which I thought was alone in feeling. (The kind of numb where you lie in bed playing a handful of songs on repeat for hours and hours, watching the world pass by, to the neglect of everything else.) I notice CC is kind of silent on the issue of mood disorders in college. Had more college-aged people shared what they felt, and people more vocal on the issue, I probably would have recognised the problem earlier -- before it ruined my third year GPA. (Perhaps discovering suicideproject.org
would have helped too.) Maybe people can share stories / feelings here.