Depression is definitely a huge burden for college students. Instead of the enjoyable experience people usually associate with college, students with depression sometimes perceive life in the university as a harrowing 4-year struggle through self-doubt and misery.
College students with depression often find themselves struggling to balance schoolwork and family. Some even have part-time work or athletic scholarships that they need to attend to so they can support their academic endeavors.
As a result, grades crash to the ground, relationships end bitterly and alcohol, drugs and suicidal thoughts enter the picture.
What’s even worse is that many students who have depression may not even know they have depression, and those who know are sometimes too insecure to inform their professors or university counselors about their depression.
In an interview with Iowa Watch, Alison Brown recounted her stories of being depressed and a college student at the same time.
Alison, 22, recently graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. Despite the impressive feat, Brown says that enduring depression while keeping up with college life wasn’t a walk in the park.
She said that she had a difficult time admitting to anyone that she had depression. Diagnosed with depression at the age of 12, Alison said about telling others of her condition:
“I think that in other people’s eyes I would look weak if I told them that I’m just sad a lot,”
Others with depression have different but equally difficult experiences. Another UI student, Alexandra Bushby said that she would often fake illnesses so she can cover up for the days when she succumb to depression.
Some students with depression resort to even more drastic measures, like self-mutilation or suicide attempts.
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that as much as 30 percent of college students experience symptoms of depression. However, many who suffer depression are afraid to come out due to fears of being ridiculed or ignored by professors or even counselors. A lot of them also cope with depression through behaviors that may be more destructive than helpful.
Michelle Weckmann, associate professor of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa, says that there are a couple of things a college student can do to cope with depression. Social support from friends or family can be a good start to help oneself deal with the condition. Meditation and exercise may also be very helpful in dealing with depression.
University of Exeter’s Wellness Services emphasize on the importance of eating balanced and nutritious meals to help our physical body cope with depression.
Experts agree that consulting a psychologist, psychiatrist or any mental health professional may be one of the most important thing a college student can do to combat depression.
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