In our Back to School series, Mashable tackles the big issues students face, from mental health to representation to respectful communication. Because returning to the classroom is about more than buying school supplies.

People may joke about the carefree lives of college students, but the unique stress of succeeding in higher education is real. Between managing course work, finding a circle of supportive friends, figuring out your identity as a young adult, and paying for the privilege of a diploma, college can be the equivalent of a pressure cooker.

Indeed, research shows that a growing number of college students say they’ve experienced a mental health condition, including panic attacks and anxiety.