For many college students, discussing their mental health struggles can be a difficult topic to bring up.
College students are more prone to mental health struggles, such as depression and anxiety, due to several stressors in their everyday life, according to research conducted by the Mayo Clinic, a healthcare not-for-profit. Examples include an overwhelming academic workload, lack of sleep, homesickness, financial worries, and finding a balance between school, their social life and afterschool jobs.
According to Mayo Clinic, as many as one in three college students experiences significant depression and anxietyand almost half of those students do not reach out for help.
It’s important to know and identify the symptoms of depression and anxiety to recognize if you can relate or if someone you know does.
What should we do if someone we know displays the above stated symptoms?
Jennifer Swartz, a new member of the Hilbert College Wellness Center and a trained mental health professional, said people should be direct but kind when talking about their mental wellness.
“Be upfront and speak directly to that person in a non-judgmental way.” Swartz said.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, also known asthe DSM, symptoms of depression can look like having a depressed mood almost every day, loss of interest in once favored activities, changes in eating and sleeping habits, loss of energy, excessive inappropriate guilt or feelings of worthiness, inability to stay focused, and recurrent thoughts of suicide.
Symptoms of anxiety, also according to the DSM, can look like excessive worrying that is challenging to control, restlessness, feeling more tired than usual, inability to concentrate clearly, getting irritated easily, trouble sleeping, and muscle aches or soreness.
Swartz graduated from Hilbert college with a degree in human services, then obtained her master’s in school counseling at Canisius College. She has over a decade of professional experience in mental health services.
Her advice for students who may be struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health struggles themselves is to use the resources available to them, she said.
“Taking care of your mental health is just as important, if not more important at times than your physical health.” Swartz said. “They go hand in hand. Our brains are so strong and resilient, yet they can be tender and hurt by our experiences in life. We, as society, need to incorporate mental health wellness into our whole wellness plans.”
Swartz is available for mental health counseling on Tuesdays from 9:00am-5:00pm in the Counseling Center in St. Joes Hall. An appointment can be made with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr.Chris Siuta also works on campus at the Counseling Center and is available for appointment through email, email@example.com or through the Wellness Center phone number (716) 926-8930.