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
- 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