Help for College Students Feeling Depressed and Suicidal

It appears that suicidal thoughts among young people in college is more common that we might think.  It’s been reported that suicide is the third leading cause of death for those aged 15-24, and the second leading killer in the college population, with 1 in 12 having created a suicide plan.

A young person’s college career is suppose to be exciting, full of promise, new activities and friends. It’s also full of stress. According to at Suite 101, “Leaving friends and family, entering a different world with new people to meet and new challenges to overcome can leave many students feeling anxious, especially those entering their first year of college.”

The article, College Students and Depression on the Preisz-McMillin Clinic, Inc. website states, “At colleges nationwide, large percentages of college students are feeling overwhelmed, sad, hopeless and so depressed that they are unable to function. According to a recent national college health survey, 10% of college students have been diagnosed with depression and including 13% of college women.”

Tips On Dealing With Depression in College

When it becomes difficult to deal with changes and stress, to find your way back to happiness try these suggestions from the Preisz-McMillian Clinic, adapted from the National Mental Health Association.

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.

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 toward 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.

One college student, Zach, was able to overcome his depression that was triggered when, after buying a ring for a girlfriend, she broke up with him. This loss, heavy drinking and isolation put him into a depression downward spiral. His thoughts of suicide and depression decreased when he stopped drinking, got physically active and realized that good friends are essential. You can watch his story below:

If you need to talk someone, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK or 273-8255