College is a time when students experience some of the best moments of their lives. New friends, new city, and new relationships can all create a rich environment for many students. However, the transition isn’t easy for everyone—fortunately, mental health professionals understand this and know how to help.
Negative mental health in college students is difficult to understand because most students don’t notice they are suffering. Classes become more taxing as students progress. Money may not always be flowing. Finding a new place to live for next semester takes time—time that students might not have.
College mental health is a serious matter. Almost one-third of all college students said they’ve been depressed at some time and struggled to complete daily tasks. And the faculty wants to help, but 56 percent say they don’t know how to help a student who is hurting.
By educating yourself and finding the proper support and resources, it is possible to successfully manage your mental health during college. Take a minute and read about a few ways to be proactive with college mental health.
Picking the Right School
Preparing to cope with the new stresses you’ll face in college can be easier if you pick the right school. When applying to colleges, consider things like location, the size of the school and the city, where you’ll be living, on-campus resources, and other resources in the community.
Almost every college is given accommodations every year to help students struggling with their mental health, so you shouldn’t be afraid to ask. If you experience issues with anxiety or depression, finding a smaller school that is close to family could help you cope with any effects of mental illnesses.
Knowing When It’s Time to Seek Help
Some students, sadly, wait until it’s too late to get help. There is often still a social stigma towards people who struggle with their mental health, and so students hide inside of themselves, continuing to suffer.
This should never happen! Students should seek help as soon as possible. Don’t feel like you’re a lesser human because you need help managing your mental health in college. Depression in college students is common, and you are not alone in your feelings.
There are more resources than ever before available to college students, so don’t be afraid to seek all the help you can.
Where to Seek Help
There are many mental health programs available to you, both locally and nationally. The Center for Online Education lists out what social and health services are located throughout every state in the U.S. Along with these, you can also look for national organizations such as Anxiety and Depression Association of America, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and even Alcoholics Anonymous.
These are just a few national resources for you. For college students, heading to the disability resource center is the best way to find help should you need it. Here, you can meet with professionals who are ready to listen and give assistance.
Should you need more than an open ear, colleges can also give you certain privileges such as priority registration, reduced course load, transportation assistance, and even provide a mentor and/or tutor free of charge.
Before students leave for college, there are a few things you can do ahead of time.
Many of the struggles that come with attending a big college are social changes—leaving long-time friends and family behind for a new community of peers. If you experience some type of mental health issue such as anxiety, try attending a local community college first and start by commuting from home. As things progress, you can transfer to a four-year college with a little more distance if things are going well.
It’s also helpful to familiarize yourself with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. There are numerous benefits, programs, and assistance provided to anyone struggling with a mental illness.
If college becomes overwhelming, you are entitled to a leave of absence to help recover. But before it ever gets to that, please make sure you reach out for help.