College is often referred to as “the best four years” of a person’s life. But what about for those who struggle with mental illness?
Often, mental health issues can be triggered by a big life change, such as moving away to college and living on one’s own for the first time. This enormous adjustment can cause students to feel anxious or depressed for the first time in their lives. Some feel so alone and dark that they become suicidal.
But students who struggle often have resources right at their fingertips that can help them in the battle against mental illness, including access to experienced mental health professionals right on their campuses. Many of them are simply too afraid, nervous, or ashamed to seek help. Keep in mind: reaching out and admitting you need help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.
It can be difficult for a college student to admit that he or she is struggling and grappling with mental health issues. They may see friends or roommates thoroughly enjoying themselves and making the most of the college experience, and they might wonder what is wrong with them and why they can’t enjoy college in the same way others do.
Triggers of mental illness that afflict college students, in particular, can also include high levels of stress and anxiety, a demanding workload, and trouble fitting in. College students often have strictly enforced deadlines for the first time in their lives, and the pressure to meet perform can cause immense stress and anxiety.
Sometimes the symptoms of mental illness can cause a person to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. This form of coping occurs commonly on college campuses because students often have access to both alcohol and drugs, and hiding addiction to one or both of these substances can be easy, because “everyone is doing it.” Those with depression and anxiety should not seek out alcohol and drugs but instead should avoid them, as they can worsen the symptoms of mental health issues.
If you or a friend is struggling with mental illness while in college, don’t wait to seek help for yourself or for them.