Because college often involves many challenges, transitions, and demands, it is not unusual for college students to become depressed. Everyone feels “down in the dumps” or “blue” from time to time. These feelings sometimes follow difficult experiences such as the death of a loved one, the end of an important relationship, and other losses or traumatic events. It is normal to feel sad at times like these. It is also normal for the feelings to lighten and eventually pass fairly quickly.
With clinical depression, these feelings may or may not be associated with a particular event; they may seem to come “out of the blue.” The feelings are more severe, and they last for most of the day over an extended period of time. If left untreated, depression in college can have many negative effects. These include difficulty maintaining motivation and concentration, poor academic performance, substance abuse, unhealthy decisions and behaviors, and even thoughts of suicide. But depression is treatable and help is available. The first step is to be aware of the symptoms.
Symptoms of depression
What to do if you think you are depressed
Shift your mindset:
Shift your behaviors:
Remember the basics:
Relax and enjoy:
For some people, depressive feelings recur seasonally, usually during the fall and/or winter. This type of depression seems to be related to a lack of sufficient sunlight. The symptoms and coping strategies noted above also apply to those whose depression is seasonal in nature. Additional strategies which involve maximizing sunlight exposure, include:
- Uncover your windows to let in every bit of sunlight available, especially in the morning.
- Take day trips to higher, sunnier elevations when possible.
- Consider utilizing a light therapy box, which emits artificial light. Consult with a physician regarding purchase and use.