National Anxiety and Depression Week: How to Help
May. 6, 2016
“College students deal with a unique amount of stressors in their lives at this age. It is a time of transition, and sometimes the first time of freedom they have had,” said Todd Jakub, Director of Student Affairs at Concorde-Dallas.
Perhaps that’s why, over the last five years, depression, anxiety and stress have been the three most self-reported forms of mental health issues on America’s college campuses.
“They [students] are told to be an adult but often lack the ability to deal with the pressure of having to transition. Most college-aged students deal with it fine, but when they cannot this will a lot of times will result in anxiety and depression,” he points out.
As we observe Depression and Anxiety Awareness Week, it’s important for future health care professionals to not only understand how to identify symptoms, but also how to practically address situations that may come up during your studies.
“College students deal with a lot of “firsts” at this age,” said Jakub, “which means that they have their first apartment, first electric bill, new friends, exposure to new cultures, and becoming their own person. Discovering who you really are as a person is hard, and at this age they may not have the skills developed to deal with it.”
Often times, these feeling will manifest themselves in both a physical and psychological way. There are many different signs to look, but the most common and most easily identifiable are the following:
- Sleep disruptions
- Sense of doom and irrational fear
- Excessive worrying about something
- Trouble concentrating
The signs for Depression, include all of the same signs for Anxiety, but the additional major signs tend to be things like:
- Loss of interest
- Apathy/Loss of appetite
- Social isolation
- Sadness and excessive crying
- Suicidal thoughts/ideations
When those around need a helping hand
Since you’ve made a commitment to being involved in the health care field, you probably are known for your big heart and willingness to help others.
That’s why it can be especially difficult to watch a friend or loved-one battle with these symptoms and issues.
At a time where you may feel the need to “fix it,” Jakub has some other alternatives to consider:
- First thing is to understand what depression& anxiety is, and that it is a medical condition and treatable. However, depending on the level can be very serious if not treated.
- Encourage them to get help, don’t demand it, and just encourage them to do so.
- Always remember that it is best to be a good listener to them, other than you be the one talking and giving advice.
For those dealing with suicidal thoughts, he cautions, “do not leave the person alone. Dial 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.”
More than anything, know you are not alone
We want to be part of solution. As a partner in our students’ mental health well-being, we offer assistance in many forms.
Depending on your location, there may be local agencies that will assist connecting folks with a licensed professional counselor or physician.
We also have list of agencies, that work with students who cannot afford it, or do not have insurance to cover the costs. These providers either will work for free or they will work on a sliding scale system.
And, most of all, we provide a safe place for that person to come to and a safe place for them to express themselves without judgment.