Mental Health in College
It’s that time of year again. Your classes are underway, deadlines are looming, and suddenly the pressure is on. Whether you’re worried about passing your classes, getting good grades, or your social life, sometimes the stress of college can get the best of you. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to your mental health.
Struggling with mental health in college is much more common than you think. While not everyone is comfortable talking about it, it affects many students. According to research conducted by Boston University, in 2020-2021, greater than 60% of college students across the country met the criteria for one or more mental health issues.
Unlike older generations, as a Gen Z college student, you are faced with additional stressors due to the pandemic. Because of this, it’s crucial to be able to recognize the signs of a mental health crisis.
5 Signs You Are Having a Mental Health Crisis
1. You’re isolating yourself
One of the most common signs of a mental health crisis is self-isolating. While some people are naturally introverted, losing touch with friends and family, or avoiding making new friendships can be signs of depression.
2. You’ve stopped caring
If you used to care about your grades and future, but you’ve stopped going to class or engaging in hobbies you once enjoyed, it can be a warning sign that you are depressed.
3. You’re drinking or smoking alone or excessively
Substance use, especially drinking socially, is widespread in college. But if you find yourself drinking alone or excessively, it is a sign that you should seek help. Drinking, smoking weed, or using other drugs frequently can mean you are struggling to cope. It is also a warning sign that you are developing a substance use disorder.
4. You’re not eating or sleeping enough
Having trouble sleeping can signify that you’re stressed, depressed, or suffering from high anxiety. If you find yourself skipping meals, it can mean you’re overstressed and, in some cases, developing an eating disorder.
5. You can’t stop worrying
While college can naturally be stressful at times, you may suffer from an anxiety disorder if you worry excessively about school, your relationships, or your grades. While some stress is normal, constantly feeling on edge is not.
How to Reach Out for Mental Health Help
If any of the above resonates with you, it’s time to seek help. There are a few things you can do when you are struggling. It’s often helpful to take advantage of your school’s counseling services. Most colleges offer free one-on-one therapy sessions with a counselor to students struggling with mental health.
If you’re not comfortable seeking help from your college, you may benefit from texting the Crisis Text Line at 741741. It’s free, and a trained crisis counselor can help you work through difficult emotions.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or plans, it’s best to contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline right away by calling 988. They also offer free chat services through their website. The lifeline is free and provides confidential support to those struggling with suicidal thoughts or plans or who are otherwise in crisis.
• 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Lifeline. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://988lifeline.org/
• Lipson, S. K., Zhou, S., Abelson, S., Heinze, J., Jirsa, M., Morigney, J., Patterson, A., Singh, M., & Eisenberg, D. (2022). Trends in college student mental health and help-seeking by race/ethnicity: Findings from the national healthy minds study, 2013-2021. Journal of Affective Disorders, 306, 138–147. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2022.03.038
• Substance use disorders. NAMI. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Common-with-Mental-Illness/Substance-Use-Disorders
• Text home to 741741 free, 24/7 crisis counseling. Crisis Text Line. (2022, August 2). Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://www.crisistextline.org/
• U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders
• U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Eating disorders. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders
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