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Depression and anxiety in college students

Depression: how does one describe it? Maybe it’s waking up to a monotonous morning alarm and staring at the ceiling for an hour before finally being able to get out of bed. Maybe it’s being unable to sleep because tomorrow brings a whole new set of challenges. 

When someone thinks of a mental disorder, they tend to think of depression and anxiety. Naturally, that’s not all there is, but that is what today’s society tends to hear about the most. 

“Up to 44% of college students reported having symptoms of depression and anxiety,” said the Mayo Clinic in this article talking about depression and anxiety in college students from September 2021.

The article goes on to explain symptoms of these disorders, regarding college students, often being represented as a serious lack of energy, panic, a sense of being overwhelmed, difficulty handling schoolwork, etc.

College students are pretty busy. Some classmates are taking 15 to 20 credits this term, while others struggle with 10. 

There’s an expectation to be perfect and completely capable of living just as well, or better, than one’s peers. It’s normal to feel tired or to feel a lack of energy. 

In the wake of COVID-19, not to mention specific political unrest, many are experiencing a type of wariness that only the group of people who lived through it can explain. And on top of that, people are trying to remain ‘normal’ by going to school, holding a job, taking care of living spaces, making time for hobbies and maintaining relationships.

Other potential symptoms of depression and anxiety in college students, as listed in the article, are inaccurate self-assessments. Such as when a person doesn’t see themselves clearly or their accomplishments. When feelings of exhaustion arise, instead of participating in negative self-talk, look at what’s been accomplished.

The article goes on to say approximately 75-percent of college-age students don’t ask for help when they need it. 

“If you avoid caring to avoid hurting, you also avoid healing,” said Therapist Jonathan Decker. Decker partners with Filmmaker Alan Seawright on a YouTube channel that analyzes mental health and visual storytelling in popular movies recommended by fans. In this video, he analyzes grief in the movie Big Hero 6.

There are accessible ways to achieve healing, such as counseling, therapy, or reaching out to friends or family.

In the event a person needs help, reach out to someone. Resources are available through the CAP (Career, Academic, Personal) Services Center, as well as Thrive Central Oregon, who partners with COCC to help students and staff receive help they need. 

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