All this week, our Higher Ed desk has been reporting on increased levels of anxiety and depression among college students in our series 'Stressed and Depressed on Campus.' WGBH Radio's Kirk Carapezza spoke with WGBH All Things Considered anchor Arun Rath about the series. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Arun Rath: There's been some difficult stuff to report in this piece. These are stories that are hard to hear.

Kirk Carapezza: Yeah, this is one of those issues where I think we have a generation of students who are really willing to talk about this among themselves, and the stigma has certainly been lessened and the demand for mental health services is increasing. But in reporting this, it's still hard to get people to tell these stories on tape in a public way. And a lot of schools don't want to be marked as a school that's dealing with depression or suicide. So finding institutions to partner with us in reporting the series was really difficult.

Read more:Part One: 'The Pressures On Kids — They're Born Into It'

Rath: How did you think to start reporting on this difficult subject?

Carapezza: Well, we have a lot of young people in the Boston area, and many of them go to the colleges in our region. And researchers have been warning that this psychic stress is now widespread on college campuses. We also commissioned a nationwide poll on this back in 2017, and we asked about mental health issues. We found most Americans don't think colleges do a good job looking after students' mental health, and half of those we surveyed said colleges aren't tending to the mental health needs of students as well as they should. More than half of the respondents who graduated from college said schools could do a lot more when it comes to the mental health of their students.

Rath: As a parent, this is something that makes me anxious to hear, but you find that parents can be part of the problem?

Read more: Part Two: The College Pressure Cooker: High Achieving Students, High Mental Health Risks

Carapezza: Yeah, I think the college admissions bribery scandal, which we've been following pretty closely here, has demonstrated how guaranteeing seats at selective schools is not necessarily about parents doing what's best for their kids, but instead about securing their own privilege and preserving the family's status. And there's so much stress and expectations surrounding college admissions. One psychologist I spoke with calls it college admissions mania. And we have all these young people all competing with each other to try to get into the most selective colleges, and that's leading to their anxiety and their depression, and in the worst cases, suicide.

Rath: Now, it's not all darkness, because one of the exciting things you report on is how New York University, it's seen as a model for how to respond?

Carapezza: Right. They opened this 24 hour hot line where students could call in anonymously. And all of the administrators we spoke with in reporting this series say that they're trying to change the narrative surrounding mental health on campus and they're trying to remind students that not all mental health problems lead to a clinical diagnosis. The demand, though, for these services is so great now that colleges say they can't hire enough counselors to keep up. So they're trying things like group therapy. There's a lot of talk about baking mental health into the curriculum, meeting students where they already are. Jefferson Community College in upstate New York has tried to integrate physical and mental health services for their students, many of them who are low-income, and the college's health and wellness center now provides physicians, counselors and emergency transportation, and emergency child care vouchers. They've also opened an on-campus food pantry.

Rath: With resources like that, though, how can a two-year community college afford that kind of thing?

Read more:Part Three: Struggling With Perceived Isolation, Many First-Gen College Students Face Mental Health Problems

Carapezza: Right. Most resource strapped community colleges are struggling with addressing mental health, and students at two-year colleges are seeing more and more financial pressures as states cut back funding, so there's diminishing mental health support.

We spoke with Bunker Hill Community College President Pam Eddinger, and she says while most of the attention has been focused on four-year institutions, community colleges often have to re-frame the conversation to include their schools.

"The fact that things are getting more serious at the four year colleges, you can sort of double that in the community college environment," Eddinger said, "because you're not just dealing with the pressures of academics anymore or the pressures of, you know, whatever it is for the resident students in four year colleges. You're taking care of family. You've got children. You've got parents. And it's harder to find time to do self care."

Eddinger says that unfortunately, when community colleges trim, they often cut mental health and well being services first. Bunker Hill, for example, doesn't even have a full-time therapist on staff, let alone a clinic on campus to help students directly with mental health issues.

"Our only recourse sometimes is to do stabilization and referral," Eddinger said. "So we depend on the network of health care providers in the community. And sometimes those connections make and sometimes they don't."

Read more: Part Four: As Demand For Mental Health Services Rises, Colleges Scramble To Provide Resources To Students

Eddinger describes it as a patchwork approach, and she says we can talk about retention all we want, but until community colleges have the resources to meet students' basic needs, including their mental health, completion will always be a struggle.