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Depression in College Students

             This
paper will explore depression in college students along with the extent of the
issue, effects, resources and coping strategies. Depression is much more than
regular sadness. According to the American
psychological association when people have depression they may experience a
lack of pleasure and interest in their daily activities. They might experience
significant weight loss or gain, lack of energy, insomnia or excessive
sleeping, inability to concentrate, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, and
recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. As men and Women progress in their
college careers it isn’t uncommon for them to experience stress or depression.

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More and more students are reporting having
feelings of depression and anxiety than ever before. Another study by the Journal of Abnormal Psychology said that the
effects of having depression as a young adult are carried on into adulthood
even after they graduate from High School or College. “They were more likely to perform poorly at work,
have social difficulties, have a low quality of life and physical well-being”
(APA 2003). Depression can affect every aspect of a person’s life. When a
student has depression it can take a toll on their work, relationships,
self-esteem, and could potentially ruin their future if it gets too out control.

One Reason behind this could be that college
students have more complex problems than they did over a decade ago. Including
both the typical expected college student problems as well as the more severe
problems like the issues discussed in this paper. A study involving 13,257
students seeking help at a large Midwestern university counseling center over a
13-year period found that the increases in their problem were striking. It
found that the number of students seen each year with depression has doubled.

What’s more disturbing is that in a study by the American Psychological Association found that throughout 70 colleges and
universities students who filled out a review on suicidal experiences reported
having at least one episode of suicidal thinking at some point in their lives.
Around fifteen percent of students surveyed have reported to seriously
deliberating attempting suicide. Within this study they also discovered that
more than five percent reported making a suicide attempt at least once in their
lifetime. This is well over the amount it should be.

Researchers are examining the effect of mental
health in college students to better help them in the future. But there is so
much more that needs to be done if we want to really help student who are
struggling now. “Students who struggle are more likely to drop out of
school, but by providing services for their anxiety, depression and
relationship issues, we can help them manage these issues, focus on their
academics and learn new ways to be in the world.” (Louise Douce, Ohio
state university). To help students succeed and cope with their depression
there needs to be help available at any point in time during their college
experience.

When a student has depression in college and can
turn their entire life upside down. It can interfere with everyday events and
typically lasts all your life. People with depression don’t feel like they have
any worth and ignore their positive traits. But they tend to overstress their
faults and failures. This can make everything they do much harder because they
constantly feel defeated. Many people with depression who have feelings of
worthlessness say it’s hard to make it through the day.  It’s not uncommon
for students to fail or drop out of classes because they don’t believe they can
achieve their ambitions. It also makes it much more difficult to pay attention
and thrive in the classroom because depression influences the ability to focus.
They might become more spacey and aloof. Which can affect their grades
tremendously.  To be a successful student, you need to have your life
together. When you have depression, it seems impossible.

Some other effects from suffering with depression
can be grave.  It is not unusual for a someone to resort to Alcohol abuse
or more dangerous behaviors to get away from their depression. In other situations,
they could develop eating disorders while others may even result to suicide.

After conducting an interview with Darlene Bruin,
a member of city council in Woburn Massachusetts and active director of its
school system, she managed to give some great advice on the subject. When asked
how students can help each other to promote good mental health she responded by
telling us to be mindful if you see someone’s behavior changing and to openly
discuss mental health without the negative tone. If a mental health issue is
debilitating, you should go seek help immediately. When asked how we can
identify if someone is struggling Darlene said that Some signs are when they
become withdrawn or easily agitated.

I then asked if some universities put too much
pressure on its students and she replied, “challenging students to work hard is
a good thing, but as an individual you need to figure out how to manage the
stress.” She went on to say “not everyone can handle it and that’s okay”. When
it comes to how the university is involved with the students, I asked her if it
would be a good idea if teachers and staff should be trained to identify the
signs that a student might be struggling with mental health issues. She replied
“professors are not doctors. Its not their responsibility to go as far as
diagnosing but having a certain level in understanding mental health is
probably not a bad idea”.

With a growing demand for help, many universities
have tried to offer mental health facilities on their campuses. This is why
many colleges have counseling centers. These centers aid the student in almost
every aspect of their college careers. Counselors help lead you through
whatever questions or concerns you have even if it must deal with your mental
health. They try to aid you with whatever it is you need. If a student is
feeling like they might need to talk with someone about their depression,
anxiety, or any other issue they should be there to help.

However, many people believe that there still
isn’t enough help when it comes to how we treat students who have depression.
Having as many resources on hand as possible is key and there are many
universities who are seriously lacking in that area. It’s important that people
recognize students who may be struggling with depression or any other mental
health issue.

Some off-campus resources could be community
programs like the Center for Life Management (or CLM). This center helps
provide inclusive accompaniment of mental health and substance use facilities,
psychiatric treatment, medication services, acute care and emergency
intervention. They work with a variety of regional health and human service
workers to guarantee that your mental health care is complete and
community-based. Places like these can have a great impact on a student who may
be experiencing depression. They can do more than a counseling center can in
terms of treatment and acquiring medication.

Along with resources, it’s important that
students learn how to cope with their mental health issues. There are many
strategies different people use to help cope with their depression. It’s very
important that people try to make the best out of their situation and be
responsible for themselves. Although depression is a very unfortunate
condition, the only way to truly help yourself is to find ways that work for
you. one way is to focus on being more social, when you keep in touch with your
friends it helps ensure you’ll always have somebody to talk to. Exercising is
another good way to fight off depression because it helps elevate your mood all
day long. Facing certain situations is another great way to ease depression.
For example, when you’re in a class that seems difficult don’t avoid doing the
work, it’s just going to add stress. When you start to feel the symptoms of
depression don’t try and mask them. Be open to people about what’s going on.

Unfortunately, some students never go to seek
help when they need it. This could be because of the stigma behind it. It’s
very important that people recognize the severity and prevalence of mental
health issues in today’s generation. Everyone must learn that there is nothing
wrong with seeking help when you need it because it can only benefit you if you
do. You aren’t any lesser of a person because you may struggle with a mental
health issue. The sooner we stop the stigma about going to seek health and
identifying our problems, the better.

In conclusion, I have high hopes that
colleges around the country will have the correct resources to help their
students succeed. Mental health isn’t a joke and it mustn’t be treated lightly.
I believe that, in time, more colleges will gain the skills and resources
needed to aid students who suffer with mental health issues. I would recommend
that students should also learn how to take responsibility into their own hands
regarding their illnesses and learn that it’s okay to seek help.  The
stigma that surrounds this kind of issue is always getting better, so I predict
it will eventually fade. Until then we need to educate people on what it means
to have a mental health issue and teach them to be more understanding

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