What You Should Know About Mental Health and College

Anxiety and depression, alongside other mental health issues, can strike at any time. It’s indiscriminate and doesn’t care if you’re a student at USC or holding down a full-time job.

One thing is for sure and that is there is an increasing number of university age students who are experiencing issues and there is more pressure on mental health services to help young people.

In this blog, we’re taking a look at how you can recognize some of the symptoms associated with anxiety and depression and what you can do to help yourself.

Anxiety

This is a condition that can come about at any time. Often there isn’t one reason why you would start to feel anxious and it can spread to different areas of your life fairly quickly.

When you’re starting to feel anxious you might have feelings of paranoia and that the world is against you. You might feel too scared to go outside and prefer to stay inside where you feel safe.

Your emotions may swing from extremes and at times you’ll feel sad and overwhelmed then swing to feeling extremely angry. This is all part of the normal reaction to anxiety.

Physically you might experience rapid, shallow breathing, have panic attacks and feel faint.

To deal with anxiety, the very first thing you need to do is to talk to someone. Tell a classmate, talk to a counselor or a lecturer, just tell someone. In terms of treatment you may be given some medication to help control the worst of the physical symptoms.

You may be referred to talk therapy. While you may not necessarily talk about your anxiety triggers, you will certainly discuss ways in how to react once anxiety starts. You will talk through and practice strategies that help you deal with the symptoms that will hopefully allow you to lead a normal life.

Depression

Depression comes in many shapes and forms and can be debilitating. It can be triggered by a specific event or you may have a physiological or genetic reasons why you’re predisposed to experiencing depression. Very often you may find that the symptoms come and go and that you’re feeling great one day and not so great the next. If you do feel that you’re swinging between these two states, it’s best to go and seek help as soon as you can.

Emotionally, when you’re suffering from depression, you’ll feel that there is little point to getting up and getting out there. You may feel that you simply want to shut down and withdraw from friends and family and in extreme cases you might consider self-harm or suicide.

Physically, you may feel that self-care is the last thing is the last thing on your mind. You might feel sluggish and heavy in your body and incapable of focussing on one thing for any length of time.

Those closest to you will probably be among the first to notice that things aren’t quite right with you. Your natural reaction may be to block everyone out but it’s important that you recognize you might be slipping and try to take action with support if need be.

If your depression is triggered by an event or series of events in your life then going to talk therapy may go a long way in recognizing why you sometimes feel the way you do. There are several types of talk therapy. You may find a therapist who encourages you to talk about the issues that are affecting you in your life or you may find someone who gives you some proactive methods of how to face and deal with your issues. This might include being set homework, perhaps keeping a journal of how you’re feeling, dreams and interactions with people.

It might be that your therapist prescribes you some medication to work alongside your therapy sessions. This medication may not take effect straight away and will need to be monitored closely to make sure that the levels are correct.

As hard as it is to get yourself along to the doctor and leave your house, if you can do one thing, make it this. Have a friend or classmate come with you if that helps and allow them to drive you there and to be taken care of.

Anxiety and depression are all too common among young people in university. Make sure that you are setting yourself adequate boundaries in your studies and relationships and that you’re taking care of your mental and physical health.

Amanda SheaComment