“College is an exciting time for students. For many, it is a time of exploration and discovery, but all the change can be very stressful. Mental health is an important area of health, especially since nearly half of all college students have reported feeling so depressed that they had trouble functioning, and 15 percent meet the criteria for clinical depression*.
Untreated depression can lead to suicide, which is the second leading cause of death of college students. It is important for college-age students to seek care so they can lead a healthy successful life.”
American College Health Association.
American College Health Association -National College Health Assessment: Reference Group Executive Summary Fall 2006.
Baltimore, MD: American College Health Association; 2007.
Monthly Mental Health Newsletters are sent through the Mental Health Strategic Team. This team explores and recommends approaches to improving the University community’s awareness and response to students’ mental health issues.
College is very different from high school. No matter how well you did in high school, college will be challenging. For one thing, there are fewer assignments and tests. This means that every grade is important! This is also the first time that many students have ever been away from home for an extended period of time. This can be very challenging for students, especially those who are used to seeing and talking with their family and friends every day. This is also an exciting time in the lives of students when they begin to develop new friendships and find new direction for life. However, this can seem overwhelming for some people. The University offers many resources that can help to make your transition to college as smooth as possible.
There are a few tips that can help you adjust well and be successful in college.
Depression is very different from feeling blue occasionally, and may lead to a serious medical illness. It’s more than just feeling “down in the dumps” or “blue” for a few days. It’s feeling “down” and “low” and “hopeless” for weeks at a time.
About 18.8 million Americans experience depressive disorders that affect how they sleep, eat, feel about themselves, and live their lives. Depression can run in families, and it usually starts between the ages of 15 and 30. Depression has physical and emotional symptoms and cannot be wished away; people with depression can’t just “pull themselves together.” There are different types of depressive disorders, each with its own symptoms and treatment options. The good news is that depression can be treated, and people can recover.
Contact the UA Counseling Center to talk with someone about your concerns, at 205-348-3863.
While we often consider sleep to be a “passive” activity, sufficient sleep is increasingly being recognized as an essential aspect of health promotion and chronic disease prevention in the public health community.
Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression which threaten our nation’s health. Notably, insufficient sleep is associated with the onset of these diseases and also poses important implications for their management and outcome. Moreover, insufficient sleep is responsible for motor vehicle and machinery-related accidents, causing substantial injury and disability each year. In short, drowsy driving can be as dangerous and preventable as driving while intoxicated.
Notably, more than one-quarter of the U.S. population report occasionally not getting enough sleep, while nearly 10% experience chronic insomnia. However, new methods for assessing and treating sleep disorders bring hope to the millions suffering from insufficient sleep. Fundamental to the success of all of these efforts is the recognition that sufficient sleep is not a luxury, it is a necessity, and should be thought of as a vital sign of good health.
Source: CDC Sleep Site
While there is variability between each of us in how much sleep we need, the National Sleep Foundation has noted that the need for sleep changes as we age. On average, adolescents and adults need between 7-9.5 hours of sleep per night.
To learn more about these disorders visit the CDC Sleep site.
The promotion of regular sleep is known as sleep hygiene. The following is a list of sleep hygiene tips which can be used to improve sleep. Also included is a list of special relevance to adolescents, who may experience sleep difficulties due to circadian rhythm changes occurring during the teenage years and into young adulthood.
Source: Adapted From: Taheri S. The link between short sleep duration and obesity: We should recommend more sleep to prevent obesity. Arch Dis Child 2006;91:881:884 and Sleep Hygiene Tips.
Having the blues, feeling anxious, losing interest in enjoyable activities, or getting stressed from time to time are all part of life. But it may be more serious when it continues for a long time or affects daily activities such as going to class or your social life. Stress is the body’s response to any demand or pressure. These demands are called stressors. Your mental and physical health can be at risk when stressors in your life are constant.
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. It helps one deal with a tense situation in the office, study harder for an exam, and keep focused on an important speech. In general, it helps one cope. But when anxiety becomes an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, it has become a disabling disorder. More information on anxiety.
Five Major Types of Anxiety Disorders:
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college-aged students. Sadly, this is increasing among young females and young males, between the ages of 15–19. Most common ways people commit suicide among this age group is through hanging and suffocation and poisoning. It is a devastating reality that affects many more people than just the person attempting to commit suicide. If you are considering suicide or suspect that someone you know is considering committing suicide, you should contact help immediately! The UA Counseling Center can help. Call the Counseling Center at 205-348-3863 or UA Police Department at 205-348-5454. Common Signs of Suicide:
To get the facts on suicide, visit the Teen Education and Crisis Hotline (TEACH) Hear one-minute podcast on preventing further suicides. Hotlines: National Drug and Alcohol Treatment: (800) 662-HELP National Youth Crisis Hotline: (800) 4-A-CHILD National Adolescent Suicide Hotline: (800) HIT-HOME