Depression

Student Health Services/Mental Health exists to help individuals struggling with various mental health issues. One area of concern for college students that come for mental health services is depression. Recent research conducted by UVU Student Health Services indicated that over half of students coming in for mental health services were experiencing symptoms related to depression. Other research has suggested that 19 million Americans each year experience depressive symptoms (the most common mental illness). The key to remember is that it is treatable.

Characteristics of Depression*

Can occur at any age and to people of any race or ethnic group.

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Loss of pleasure or interest in activities
  • Feeling restless or irritable
  • Persistent physical symptoms that don't respond to treatment -pain in the neck, shoulders, back, or legs that just isn’t going away is often related to stress or depression
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feeling guilty, hopeless, or worthless
  • Thoughts of suicide or death

Tips On Dealing With Depression in College*

  • Carefully plan your day. Make time every day to prioritize your work. Prioritizing can give you a sense of control over what you must do and a sense that you can do it.
  • Plan your work and sleep schedules. Too many students defer doing important class work until nighttime, work through much of the night, and start every day feeling exhausted. Constant fatigue can be a critical trigger for depression. Seven or eight hours of sleep a night is important to your well- being.
  • Participate in an extracurricular activity. Sports, theater, fraternities and sororities, the student newspaper – whatever interests you – can bring opportunities to meet people interested in the same things you are, and these activities provide welcome change from class work.
  • Seek support from other people. This may be a roommate or a friend from class. Friendships can help make a strange place feel more friendly and comfortable. Sharing your emotions reduces isolation and helps you realize that you are not alone.
  • Try relaxation methods. These include meditation, deep breathing, warm baths, long walks, exercise – whatever you enjoy that lessens your feelings of stress and discomfort.
  • Take time for yourself every day. Make special time for yourself – even if it’s only for 15 minutes a day. Focusing on yourself can be energizing and gives you a feeling of purpose and control over your life.
  • Work towards recovery. The most important step in combating depression and reclaiming your college experience is to seek treatment. Your physician should communicate to you that remission of symptoms should be your goal and work with you to determine whether psychological counseling, medication or a combination of both treatments is needed.

Sometimes the multitude of life’s changes that occur during your college years can trigger serious depression. At this vulnerable time, the smartest thing you can do for yourself is to seek help. If your feelings of constant stress and sadness go on for weeks or months, you may be experiencing more than just difficulty adjusting to life’s changes. Seek assistance from a doctor or mental health professional, the university counseling service, or the student health center. While in treatment, there are a number of steps you can take to help you cope on your way to recovery. If you believe that depression may be negatively impacting your life, please call Student Health Services and make an appointment.

Phone: (801) 863-8876

*Information from the National Mental Health Association

Mental Health

Self Help Resources
  • HelpGuide.org - Offers self-help strategies and coping tips to help you deal with depression. Learn how social support and a healthy lifestyle can help.
  • Healthy Place - Depressive disorders make one feel exhausted, worthless, helpless, and hopeless. Here's how to help yourself if you are depressed.
  • Lessons 4 Living - Learn to understand depression and the role that thinking and attitude can play in it. Learn to change your moods.
  • ...more self help