Mental illness can plague students

According to recent studies done by the National Mental Health Association many people experience seasonal “blues”. According to their official Web site, many college students see the holidays as a time of self-evaluation, loneliness, reflection on past “failures” and anxiety about an uncertain future.

“I worry about my grades, because if they aren’t good enough I might not be able to get a good job; your GPA does matter,” said Tameka Hickson, a second year physical therapy student from Jacksonville, Fla.

A study done by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that 7.8% of men and 12.3% of women ages 18-24 report frequent mental distress, which is a key indicator for depression and other mental disorders. College students are feeling more overwhelmed and stressed than fifteen years ago. According to a recent UCLA survey of college freshman, more than 30% of college freshman report feeling overwhelmed a great deal of the time.

According to the National Mental Health Association, for many young adults, the college years are the best times of theirs lives.

However, these critical years of adjustment are undetermined by depression, anxiety, substance abuse and eating disorders, sometimes leading to suicide.

Researchers are finding that many mental illnesses may be traced to trauma in which the damage surfaces in times of stress and change such as college years. Depression affects over 19 million adults annually, including college students.

On a national level, a large percentage of college students feel overwhelmed, sad, hopeless and so depressed that they are unable to function. There were also reports of clinical depression, bipolar disorder (often called manic depression) and dysthymia, which is defined as a milder, longer lasting form of depression.

Depression can cause students to lose their zeal for everyday life and can complicate other medical conditions. Which, according to studies, can be serious enough to lead to suicide.

Professionals as well as victims of stress related illness suggest that students should to learn to relax and take things slowly when college life begins to buckle down on students.

“The advice that I would give someone dealing with stress and depression is to take it one day at a time and realize those things that are in your control, and those that are not in your control,let it go,” said Monique Hayes, a second year Business Administration student from Huntsville, Ala.

According to John Gronberg, a clinical therapist at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., three major contributors of stressors/depression among college students are career choices, relationships and separation from family. Two of the most prevalent among unhealthy stressors are drugs and alcohol.

“The healthy ways of coping with these stressors are to talk about the feelings – releasing built up emotion, exercise, proper nutrition and analyzing and setting future goals,” said Gronberg.