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Updated November 30, 2022
College students are prone to depression due to factors such as school stress, finances, or withdrawal from friends and family. Explore these tips for managing mental health at school.
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Depression is a serious and important problem at universities across the country. College students are prone to depression due to potential factors such as stress at school, work or finances, or they may feel isolated after being cut off from friends and family.
College students should know that depression is different from feeling sad or stressed occasionally. Depression is a serious but common and treatable medical condition. No one should needlessly suffer in silence. Check out this report from the National Institute of Mental Healthdepression and university studentsfor more useful information. Symptoms of depression include: depressed mood (sad, empty, or hopeless); lack of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyed activities; weight fluctuations; Sleep disorders; little energy; feeling worthless; feeling guilty; difficult to focus; difficulty in making decisions; Irritability; feeling restless; and/or suicidal thoughts. Symptoms of depression can make it difficult to perform in daily life, and as symptoms become increasingly unmanageable, students may even begin to have suicidal thoughts. Suicidal thoughts must be treated immediately. ThisCenter for Disease Control and Preventionreports that suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 34 years. Anyone who has suicidal thoughts should know that it is a serious symptom of depression. You are not alone and you don't have to deal with suicidal thoughts alone. With help, you can get relief and feel better. If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact yourNational Suicide Prevention Hotlineat 1-800-273-TALK, which offers free and confidential 24-hour crisis suicide prevention support. Traditionally, when we think of dealing with depression, we think of seeking therapy or taking medication. While these things are helpful and often recommended for anyone with clinical depression, there are many other things that can also be helpful and are sometimes overlooked. Additionally, there are many ways to manage depression that have better long-term outcomes (and lower relapse rates) than therapy or medication alone. Many of the ten coping strategies listed here work hand in hand and can be supplemented to gradually increase your overall well-being. For example, if you exercise and eat well, chances are you'll sleep well too. We hope this list provides effective strategies for dealing with depression in college.
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Participate in psychotherapy
Nobody should deal with depression alone. Trained and licensed mental health professionals can help you alleviate your symptoms. Psychotherapy can help people identify what issues are contributing to their depression symptoms and how best to deal with those issues. like himAmerican Psychological AssociationPsychotherapy has been reported to help reduce symptoms of depression and also to prevent future episodes of depression. There are many things to consider when choosing a therapist.National Institute of Mental HealthIt outlines several factors you should consider, such as: B. the type of psychotherapy or specialties the therapist offers. Furthermore, research has shown that the therapist-client relationship is critical to positive change in therapy. If you've had therapy before and didn't find it helpful, don't assume it will never be helpful; the therapist may not be a good fit for you. Many college campuses offer on-campus student counseling centers at little or no cost. Therapists on college campuses are often hired for their ability to connect with and support college students. There are many reasons to seek counseling services at your school.National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI)conducted a research report on college students and mental health and found that one of the key benefits of college counseling centers is that staff can coordinate with the school's Disability Resource Center (DRC) when a student needs housing. If your depression or other mental health issue is affecting your ability to successfully complete your studies, you can apply for special accommodation. We recommend that you begin your search for a therapist at your campus counseling center. Information on how to access the campus counseling center should be available on the college or university website. If for some reason you prefer to meet with a therapist or counselor off-campus, this is a good place to start your search.Find a therapist tooloperated bypsychology today.
Know your medication options
In general, if you have symptoms of depression, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor about it. Your doctor can help rule out or treat medical issues that could be contributing to your depression symptoms. Nurses, doctors and psychiatrists can prescribe medication to treat depression. After talking with you about your specific symptoms, your doctor may ask you to meet with a mental health therapist before you start taking medication. Sometimes, however, psychotherapy is not enough for the most severe forms of depression, and you, your therapist, and your doctor may decide that medication would help. Fortunately, advances in medicine have produced several medications that can be effective in treating depression. Thismayo clinicdescribes several common medications used to treat depression.
Practice mindfulness exercises
full attentionIt can be defined as being mindful and aware in the present moment. Although it sounds easy, being mindful is not easy, it can take a lot of practice to develop the ability to be mindful and connected in the present moment. College students can have so many different commitments (class, work, friends) to manage at once that it's hard for them to stay focused without thinking about what they need to do next. And it seems almost impossible to imagine staying in the present moment when it comes to the frequent distractions of our ubiquitous phones. However, there is hope, as there are many ways to learn and practice mindfulness practices, such as: finding a therapist who emphasizes mindfulness; go to a yoga class – some classes emphasize mindfulness more than others; read and practice different mindfulness practices; listen to audio mindfulness meditations; and attend a meditation class or retreat. WhenNPRMeditation is supposedly a mindfulness practice that has been shown to help people deal with depression. There is a model called therapy.Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapythat an individual can address by working with a therapist, but there are numerousmindfulness exercisesthat people can practice at home by themselves.American Psychological Association (APA)reports that mindfulness-based therapies may be helpful not only in treating depression but also in reducing relapse rates in people diagnosed with depression. Another benefit of most mindfulness practices is that you can practice them anywhere, anytime, without anyone noticing, even in a classroom or crowded student union. So whether you find yourself in a stressful situation or experiencing one of the many cognitive symptoms of depression, something as quick and simple as abreathing exercisemaybe just what you need to get back on track and get through the day.
Spend time in nature
It may sound simple, but spending time in nature has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression. There is a model of therapy based on the philosophy that spending time and connecting with nature improves mental health. Calledecotherapy, and is also known as green therapy or natural therapy. There is a lot of research in support of ecotherapy. Researchers around the world have studied the benefits of spending time outdoors in nature. There is a custom in Japan called forest bathing, which essentially means spending time near trees. Whenquartzreports: "The Japanese practice of forest bathing has been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce the production of stress hormones, boost the immune system, and improve overall well-being." Even a 30-minute walk in a wooded environment has been shown to have an impact. Many college campuses are in beautiful surroundings with easy access to hiking trails. Finding time to get away, even once a week, can have a significant impact on your mental health. And if you study in a big city where you have little connection to nature, it is perhaps even more important that you find time for a trip to the countryside, coast or mountains every now and then just to get a dose of what you get. that nature has to offer. An added benefit of spending time in nature is that people often enjoy outdoor sports such as hiking. B. walking, walking, running, skiing or swimming, which also helps to reduce depression.
Exercise has numerous physical health benefits, such as: B. strengthening the heart, lowering blood pressure, reducing body fat, and improving strength. Exercise has also been shown to have numerous mental health benefits, including reducing stress, anxiety and depression. College students can also benefit from the effects that exercise has on the brain, including improving memory and thinking skills.WebMDexplains, research has shown the benefits of exercise to treat mild to moderate depression, but it is often underused. As a college student suffering from depression, it can be difficult to conceive, find motivation, or find time to exercise. The good news is that colleges and universities often invest in recreational resources for students. Most colleges and universities offer on-campus recreation centers with gyms equipped with stationary bikes and treadmills, as well as weight rooms, basketball courts and swimming pools. Most colleges and universities also offer gymnastics classes and intramural sports that you can participate in. Your monthly fee pays for these features whether you use them or not, so why not check them out? If going to the gym is too much for you at first, simply walking to class instead of taking the bus or car can give you the emotional boost you need.Activereports that walking 30 minutes three to four times a week can improve your mood, and that even "if a brisk 20-minute walk at lunchtime is all you can do, after six weeks it can be comparable to psychotherapy." When you exercise, you produce endorphins, which lead to greater well-being. So it doesn't matter what you do as long as it gets your heart rate up. Sport can be anything you like to do. So if you don't feel like going to the gym or running, grab a friend and go for a walk or meet up with friends for a round of golf or another group sport. Hanging out with friends while walking or playing takes the worry out of exercise and gives you the added benefit of social support.
Strengthen your social connections
Going to college usually means getting away from friends and family and starting a new life in a new town or city and meeting completely new people. This can be difficult and overwhelming at first. It's important for your mental health to spend time and energy meeting new people and making friends.The international journal of mental health systemsfound that social support minimized the effects of stress on depression in college students. Since stress can make depression symptoms worse, it's important to know that social connections can reduce the effects of stress. If you're feeling depressed, you're probably not doing all the activities you used to. This can lead to isolation from family, friends and other supporters.students against depressionnotes that “depression thrives in conditions of social isolation and loneliness. Breaking that isolation and enlisting the support of others is a powerful way to fight depression.” There are many ways college students can strengthen their social connections, such as: B: Establishing a study group for a course you like or struggle with stresses you out; Set a time for a weekly dinner with your roommates. Join a campus club or intramural sports team; and/or find an organization on campus that promotes community service and connects with others while giving back to the community. As a student, it can also be beneficial to think about how to stay connected with friends and family back home. E-mails and phone calls to longtime family and friends who know you well can be uplifting. As an article inthe Atlanticexplains, connecting with friends can help stave off depression and help you bounce back from it. So even if it seems difficultin particularIf you feel difficult, reach out to your friends and connect with them.
improve your diet
Everyone knows that eating well makes you feel good. However, when you're in college, it can be hard to find time to eat, let alone shop for, prepare, and cook healthy foods. But healthy eating doesn't have to be difficult or overwhelming. Even trying to add healthier, nutrient-dense foods to your diet will offset some of the other, less helpful foods. Simple snacks that require no preparation and are easy to take on the go, like apples and almonds, are perfect snacks for busy students. And when you think about the time and energy depression can take from your life, the decision to invest time in healthy eating seems like an easy one. When planning your meals, try to include them10 healthy foods to fight depression. Even small options like havingoats and green teafor breakfast can make all the difference. Sometimesnutritional deficienciescan contribute to symptoms of depression, so it's always a good idea to ask your doctor about adding vitamins to your diet. As the Indian Journal of Psychiatry wrote in its study "Understanding nutrition, depression, and mental illness.”Nutritional neuroscience is an emerging discipline that sheds light on the fact that dietary factors are intertwined with human cognition, behavior and emotions.. They report that people with depression also don't necessarily get the carbohydrates, proteins, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals they need. Your campus health center may even have a nutritionist or nutrition classes to help you on your journey to healthy eating.
Improve your sleep habits
We've all seen firsthand how we suffer when we delay sleep, but there's research to back up this anecdotal evidence.The American Psychological Association (APA) Explains Why College Students Don't Get Enough Rest-- Reasons such as social commitments, stress, and trying to get to studies on time. However, sleep is critical to your mental health, and learning to prioritize and sleep well is an important life skill. If you have trouble sleeping, check out theseTwelve simple tips to improve your sleep.
Avoid the use of drugs and alcohol
Talking about drinking at school can be difficult because it has become such an important part of the culture. College drinking, even for minors, has become pretty normal. It is important for college students to understand the potential negative health effects of drug and alcohol use in college. Students with depressive symptoms may benefit from avoiding drugs and alcohol.alcohol, substance abuse and depressionoften go hand in hand. Often, people struggling with depression turn to drugs or alcohol to relax, distract themselves, have fun, or forget about their worries. Most colleges and universities are beginning to recognize the negative impact drug and alcohol use is having on their students and campus culture, and are working hard to reduce substance abuse and support struggling students. The Harvard School of Public Health conducteda university study of alcoholand found that "alcohol use was common among students who reported mental health problems/depression: 81.7 percent of them drank alcohol." Unfortunately, substance abuse only makes depression symptoms worse over time. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence describessigns and symptomsdrug and alcohol abuse. If left untreated, drug and alcohol abuse can quickly turn into addiction. If you are concerned about its use, it is important to seek help immediately. If you feel you need help, have questions, or would like recommendations for support in your community, please contact the Hope Line at 1-800-622-2255 or see the other crisis numbers listed below.
set healthy boundaries
A symptom of depression is a feeling of worthlessness or excessive guilt. Sometimes when we feel worthless or guilty, we have a hard time saying no or setting boundaries in our best interest because we are more concerned about what the other person wants or needs than what we want or need. At school, we may feel pressured to say yes to everything because we feel pressured to "seize every moment" or "seize the day". We may feel like we should say yes to every study group, party, or whenever a friend asks us for help. However, this approach can backfire. If we try to enjoy and do everything, we may not be able to enjoy or do anything. Setting good boundaries is like setting good goals. We recognize that there isn't much we can do, so we make a conscious effort to participate in the things that fulfill us and bring us joy. This could mean going for a long run and then going to bed early instead of going to a party your girlfriend really wants you to go to. It can be hard to let people down by saying no or setting a boundary, especially when you already feel inexplicably worthless or guilty. However, many people find that when they make the effort to say no or set a boundary, even if it seems difficult at the time, they boost their self-esteem and self-esteem later on. Cash10 Guilt-Free Strategies for Saying Noy10 ways to build and maintain better bordersfor tips and strategies for saying no and setting boundaries. We hope you found this list of ways to deal with depression at school helpful. Remember that depression is a common and treatable mental illness. You don't have to deal with this alone. If you or someone you know is in crisis, seek help immediately. These crisis support hotlines are free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free, confidential 24-hour crisis suicide prevention support.
- national hotline: 1-800-662-HELP. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline is available 24 hours a day. This toll-free, confidential hotline provides information (in English and Spanish) to individuals and families seeking information about treatment options for mental health disorders and substance use.
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