HEALTH & WELLNESS: MENTAL HEALTH
With all the unique challenges that college brings, it's no surprise that mental health concerns affect so many students. New environments, heavy course loads, financial difficulties, and other personal struggles can become overwhelming; remember that you're not alone, and numerous resources are here to lend you a helping hand!
Everyone feels down from time to time, but sometimes, feelings of sadness or depression can become severe enough to interfere with our daily activities. If you suspect you may be suffering from depression, please see a medical professional.
- Loss of pleasure in all, or almost all, usual activities and pastimes
- Altered sleep pattern (sleeping much less or much more than usual)
- Increase or decrease in appetite
- Low physical energy level
- Feelings of inadequacy or low self-esteem
- Decreased productivity in school or at work
- Decreased attention, concentration, or ability to think clearly
- Isolation from friends, social withdrawal, and/or being less talkative
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Tearfulness or inability to stop crying
- Feelings of guilt, helplessness, and/or hopelessness
- Brooding or ruminating about past events
- A hopeless, pessimistic outlook
- Thoughts of death, suicide, or self-harm
People with depression may experience some or all of these symptoms, and it's possible to experience periods of "highs" and "lows." Remember that depression is a treatable illness. In addition to common tools like psychotherapy and medication, self-care is a key component in any successful treatment plan. Develop a dependable support system of friends, family, and campus professionals.
- Try to establish and maintain consistent sleep habits, avoiding disruptions such as all-night study sessions
- Get plenty of regular exercise
- Eat a healthy diet
- Avoid using alcohol or other drugs
- Keep stress in check and seek academic help when needed
- If you have been receiving treatment back home, make it a priority to make referral arrangements with a health care provider and pharmacy in town before school starts
Seek help IMMEDIATELY if you begin to feel that life is not worth living or if you are having thoughts of death or suicide.
We all experience mild levels of stress and anxiety, but that does not necessarily mean we have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can come in many forms, including (but not limited to):
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Symptoms manifest differently in each person, but common symptoms of anxiety disorders may include:
- Feelings of stress and apprehension
- Trouble concentrating
- Sweating and dizziness
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
- Muscle pain and tension
- Headaches, fatigue, or insomnia
- Frequent upset stomach or diarrhea
If feelings of anxiety manifest in obsessive behavior or an overwhelming sense of fear, please seek help.
Try these coping strategies when you're feeling anxious or stressed:
- Take a time-out: practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques; stepping back from the problem helps clear your head
- Eat well-balanced meals: do not skip any meals; do keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand
- Limit alcohol and caffeine: they can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks
- Get enough sleep: when stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest
- Exercise daily: help yourself feel good and maintain your health.
- Take deep breaths: inhale and exhale slowly
- Count to 10 slowly: repeat, and count to 20 if necessary
- Accept that you cannot control everything: put your stress in perspective
- Welcome humor: a laugh goes a long way
- Get involved: volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress
- Learn what triggers your anxiety: is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you're feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern
IF YOU BELIEVE THAT SOMEONE'S LIFE IS IN DANGER, CALL 911.