College = parties, friends and fun, right? Well, not always. Depression and college is one of those ‘taboo subjects’ which isn’t really spoken about - this can mean young people having to cope with a mental illness in silence. Here at UNiDAYS we want to help, so we think it’s time to address this. I have found 5 honest facts about depression and college, and then some methods which have been proven to help tackle it.
- Around 1 in 4 college students suffer some form of mental illness, including depression.
- Depression during college has been linked to impaired academic performance, smoking and risky behaviours such as unsafe sex.
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death amongst college students.
- The onset of depressive illnesses often peaks between the ages of 15 - 24. This is the time when academic pressures increase.
- Over ⅔ of young people do not talk about or seek help for mental health problems.
Get Things Off Your ChestEven though talking to someone might be the last thing you feel like doing if you’re feeling down, give it a go. It is one of the best ways to get the ball rolling and getting things sorted. You could talk to student support, your parents, your friends, or even look online at organizations set up specially to help young people. Talking is a way to release what you’re feeling on the understand, and sometimes, just knowing that people understand what you’re going through will make a massive difference. Always remember, a problem shared is a problem halved.
Pay Attention To The Good ThingsA common trait of depression is to focus on the bad things in life, ignoring or ‘writing off’ the good things. Why not start up your own positivity journal, noting down every time something good happens or every time someone compliments you? This will help in giving you a little pick-me-up and take your mind off of the negative stuff.
ExerciseAnother common characteristic of depression is low energy levels, so you’re probably thinking - “why are you telling us to exercise?”, but honestly, if you can motivate yourself to do it, you’ll feel the benefits. Exercise generates energy so is a great way for people will depression to lift their mood. Also, exercise allows you to be back in control of your body, and this often the first step to feeling in control of other events. Such a small step can make a huge difference.
See a DoctorUltimately, seeing a doctor is one of the best ways to tackle depression. These people are professionals, so they will know exactly what they’re talking about and know what the best options are for you. You should never feel embarrassed about confiding in a doctor; they are there to support and help you feel better. Don’t put it off any longer, because such a small step can make such a massive difference!
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