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Student Mental Health: Our One Bedroom Apartment is a Sanctuary for Work and Contemplation

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one bedroom apartmentCollege students are those in-between creatures who have left (or are leaving) puberty and are on the verge of making some rather dauntingly mature decisions about their future. Superimposed on those challenges are the roiling pressures, anxieties, and worries of an overwhelming academic load many did not foresee as they coasted through their high school senior year.  As the pressures mount, it is tempting to hole up in your one bedroom apartment while depression, anxiety and loneliness open the door to dropping out. Or you can take action by attending to your mental health.

More face time needed

According to one U.S. News and World Report piece, college students’ emotional health “has dropped to an all-time low.” That is because college students spend less time socializing and more time studying and interacting through online social networks. It’s about isolation and a sense that it’s you against the demanding system.

Survey says…

As face-to-face interactions with friends and fellow students decrease, so has students’ self-reported mental and emotional health. Here’s what a 2014 survey of over 153,000 freshmen at over 200 private and public institutions found:

  • When you feel depressed, you tend to become disengaged from school.
  • When depressed you are more prone to coming late or falling asleep in class.
  • Likewise, when depressed, you are more likely to be bored with class and disengaged with other students.

Yet another student survey…

The National Alliance on Mental Illness has also done research on student mental health on college campuses. The findings are startling:

  • One quarter of college students have “a diagnosable illness.”
  • Fully 40 percent of those students fail to seek help.
  • About half “have been so anxious they struggled in school.”

And here’s the kicker…

About 80 percent of the students surveyed “feel overwhelmed” by college life and the accompanying responsibilities. So you are definitely not alone.

Identifying the mental illness among college students

The study highlights the principal mental health problems faced by college students. They are depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and drug and alcohol addiction. The report also identifies suicide as “the second leading cause of death among college students.”

What you should do for a friend

According to the NIM report, the best you can do when you believe a friend is suffering from a mental health problem is to be aware of what is going on, but know that seeking professional help is solely up to your friend. Be supportive and patient, but remember that too much pressure, no matter how well intentioned could make the problem worse.

What you should do for yourself

It’s just common sense, really. If things are getting on top of you and you’re feeling depressed, worried or anxious, help is as close to your college mental health services and counselors. Again, you are not alone.

The key to a healthy present

Your college years will be a microcosm of the life you will lead after graduation. How you handle the pressures and the conflicts now will be the bonus lessons and experience you’ll carry with you. As you enjoy the privacy and solitude of your one bedroom apartment, remember that your family, friends and professionals want you to be well and to succeed.

Want to know more about mental health issues facing college students? Read this report on BestColleges.com.

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