College is a time that offers both new experiences and challenges. While this time in life can be exciting, it can also bring with it feelings of loneliness, anxiety, or fear. Recent research indicates that mental health concerns are more common among college students than they were a decade ago, with most seeking treatment for depression and anxiety. If you’re wondering if you or someone you know might be depressed, review these symptoms to see if any of them seem familiar:
- Distancing yourself from others
- Losing interest in things that you once enjoyed
- Feeling more easily annoyed or irritable
- Having outbursts toward people you’re close to
- Experiencing changes in your appetite, sleep, or concentration
- Feeling tearful – sometimes for “no reason”
- Feeling hopeless or that life is not worth living (please seek help immediately if this is the case)
- Consuming more alcohol or other substances
- Feeling worthless or intensely critical of yourself
- Experiencing physical symptoms (e.g., headache, back pain, stomach cramping, etc)
Whether you’re experiencing one, several, or all of these symptoms, it’s important to know that there are effective ways to help reduce the negative impact they may be having in your life. Working collaboratively with a counselor may help you to identify what goals you have for how you wish to feel, hope to accomplish, or aspire to learn.
For some, there are certain situations or experiences that may exacerbate symptoms of depression. For example, the transition to college is oftentimes the first time many students have left home for any extended period. Being away from what was familiar may bring feelings of longing for home, fearing making new relationships, and missing the proximity of those closest to you. For others, their depressive symptoms may start or increase during certain times of the year. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that typically comes on during the winter months – when the days are shorter and darker. The office of Health Education and Promotion at Health Services offers a well-researched treatment for SAD, light therapy. For more information, please visit their Website: http://www.unh.edu/health-services/ohep/sad-lighttherapy_main.html.
Treatment for depression can include lots of different things. Some people find that talking with friends or family about how they’re feeling helps them to feel better. Other people might feel like a burden to those they love and choose instead to talk with a counselor or other professional about their symptoms. Some students may find that treatment with medication really helps to improve their mood. If you have questions about treatment for depression, want to learn strategies to better cope with depression, or hope to know better if you are struggling with depression, please don’t hesitate to contact the Counseling Center for an initial appointment. We can be reached Monday through Friday 8am – 5pm at 862-2090/TTY: 7-1-1 or 800-735-2964 (Relay NH).
Other resources on campus that you may find helpful include:
- If you’re experiencing academic difficulties, contact the Center for Academic Resources (CFAR). Visit their Website at: http://www.cfar.unh.edu/
- If you struggle with any kind of disability, contact Disability Services for Students at: http://www.unh.edu/disabilityservices/
There are many online resources to access, though please be wary of misinformation. Below is an accredited, reliable Website that provides additional information about depression:
- The National Institute for Mental Health has a nice Webpage dedicated to helping people better understand depression. Peruse their Website here to learn more about symptoms and treatment: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml