Among college students, mental health issues are prevalent. Recent statistics highlight the fact
that 50% of students rate their mental health as below average or poor, while 30% reported
trouble with school work because of a mental health issue. Depression or anxiety, substance
use or eating disorders are common among college students for a handful of reasons, including
the pressure they are put under to perform and the transition away from a built-in support
system from family.
Regardless of the type of mental health issue at play for a college student, taking care of one’s
self in college and beyond should be a high priority. Fortunately, college students have several
ways to help cope with mental health concerns, both on campus and off. If you are struggling
with mental health issues, seek help as soon as possible. There is no need to suffer alone.
Mental Health Challenges College Students Deal With
Although mental health challenges among college students vary widely from one person to the
next, depression, anxiety, substance use disorder, and eating disorders are the most prevalent.
An estimated 44% of college students in America report symptoms of depression. These
symptoms include feelings of hopelessness or prolonged sadness, sleeplessness, loss of interest
in social activities, and fatigue that results in a loss of motivation. Depression can be triggered
by several different factors, including a transition away from family or adjusting to a new
lifestyle on campus.
Anxiety is another common mental health challenge among college students. Feelings of being
overwhelmed impacted 85% of college students in a recent survey, due in part to high stress
levels. The pressure to make new friends, balance social and school activities, and determine a
career path can generate anxious feelings quickly among college students.
Drug and alcohol use disorders can also rear their ugly head in college. The National Institute on
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recently reported that nearly 20% of college students meet the
criteria for alcohol use disorder, meaning they drink to excess regularly. This has a serious
impact on physical and mental health, and makes achieving goals in college a challenge.
Eating disorders are also common among college students, although this is a more predominant
issue among women. An eating disorder may involve binging and purging, or extreme dieting
combined with excessive or unhealthy working out. Like substance use disorders, eating
disorders can wreak havoc on one’s personal and academic life.
Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health In College
When mental health challenges like depression, anxiety, substance use or eating disorders are
present and impacting a student’s life, steps should be taken to help ease the issue at hand.
This starts with understanding that mental health issues are not something to be ashamed of,
nor should getting help be an embarrassing task. College campuses are doing more than ever to
provide support for students and their mental health throughout their years at school, including
offering free support groups, resources for therapy, and access to mental health professionals
both on and off school grounds. Also, college students can take the following steps to improve
their mental health.
Taking care of your physical health – Having a steady routine of exercise and a balanced
diet can go a long way toward both physical and mental health. Studies show that these
simple but important aspects of daily life have a significant impact on minimizing the
symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even substance use disorder.
Take a break – college is a high-pressure environment, and without a break from it all,
students can develop mental health issues. Planning breaks from campus altogether, or
a respite from studying here and there, are necessary tools in combatting mental health
Get support – whether through friends, family, or a mental health professional, having a
strong foundation of support is necessary when mental health issues arise. Don’t be
afraid to seek out the support you need from those around you.
Set realistic goals – whether academically or personally, having achievable goals is
necessary for keeping the stress of college at bay. If you’re unsure if your goals are
realistic, speak with a coach or a counselor on or off campus and adjust as needed over
Keep track of your finances – Since the cost of college isn’t getting any cheaper, it’s
important to set a budget as a student and have awareness of your finances so you can
plan ahead and don’t have any surprise financial emergencies that might induce stress.
The Bottom Line
Throughout your college years, it is crucial to focus some of your energy on keeping your
mental health in good shape.
Although it may not be possible to prevent challenges such as depression, anxiety, substance
use, or eating disorders from appearing in college, there are several things you can do to help
combat these issues. From maintaining good physical health and keeping goals in check, to
seeking out the support you need from those around you or professional sources, mental
health issues do not have to consume your life.
Understand the symptoms of mental health issues for yourself and others close to you, and
know you aren’t alone in getting the help you need as a college student.
Andy Kearns is a Content Analyst for LendEDU and works to produce personal finance content
to help educate consumers across the globe. When he’s not writing, you can find Andy cheering
on the new and improved Lakers, or somewhere on a beach.
January is a cruel month. a bleak, cold-hearted month. The bright rainbow colors of Christmas have faded. And the dark, desolate month ofJanuary is upon us - a month of depression,'despair and desperation.A month when sadness creeps into one's soul and lingers and festers until one start thinking of the need to escape, to leave life behind, because January is a suicidal month.But before you start making plans, remember these words: if you commit suicide. it steals life from the living and you destroy the dreams of those that love you. Your loved ones will suffer agonizing, penetrating pain that will pierce their hearts and souls.Your death will be so incredibly devastating that your loved ones lives will never be the same again.Their wounds will never heal, their broken hearts will never mend, their tears will never end.SO STAY! If you are thinking of suicide, STAY - your family and friends need you and depend upon you. If you are planning on killing yourself, STAY - your family and friends love you and care for you. You bring joy and happiness to more people than you realize.So, just STAY for one more day. When tomorrow comes,STAY for one more day. Please STAY one more day and the day will arrive when light will silently come through the darkness, hope will slowly spring from the depression.STAY and the world around you will gradually change from black and white to a beautiful bouquet of bright colors - the sun will shine and and you'll be happy you stayed .For the best days of your life wait to be discovered.
What’s perfection? Who is perfect? What does it mean to be perfect? And, why does perfection leave me inherently disappointed? These questions I’ll be attempting to address throughout this blog post as this time of the semester and the year, with everyone comparing themselves to each other. The most “wonderful time of the year,” is also the time of year with grades coming out and the holiday season where your “favorite” uncle asking why you haven’t accomplished the X, Y, Z thing that your cousin has.
Living in a world where we’re constantly bombarded with images of the perfect life on social media and the constant price of comparison has left me with a taste of dissatisfaction in my mouth. When I’m bored, or let’s be honest, when I’m avoiding awkward elevator conversation, I scroll through Instagram and Facebook. There I find myself comparing my life to people that I barely know anymore and wondering ‘Why can’t I have what they do?’ “Why aren’t I good enough to be like them?” Then, I’m back into my typical spiral: Thinking about the regrets I have in life, how I could have been like ______ or had ____ if only _____, and eventually I tire myself out or snuggle up to the bag of Oreo’s I keep for my monthly (okay, weekly) breakdown.
What if I told you that I’ve found a way to slow down the spiral? All I do is say to myself, “Perfectionism is the highest form of self-abuse,” and I pause.
Let that sink in.
I then remember that I’m abusing myself by constantly comparing myself to others for being what I perceive to be perfect. Our society has found a way to make insecurity a currency. Don’t like yourself? You can change anything you want about yourself, for a price, and for some it’s the price of likes or followers. Don’t like others? Don’t worry, you can hate everyone else and still have a huge ego, just like our president. It’s funny because the times I feel myself most honestly connected to others is when I’m being my imperfect self. Yet, I go to social media to try to feel connected, why?
The real question I’m afraid to ask: Can I be happy if I’m not perfect or have a perfect life? To be honest, I’m not sure the answer which terrifies me. Will I always be grasping for something more and something that is so unrealistic, something that’s perfect? And how will I know if I actually obtain it? However, it seems like the most vulnerable thing that we can do is to live imperfectly. The more we are willing to be vulnerable, the more we build connections with others, and isn’t that where truly happiness lies? So, I guess this is my challenge to all of my fellow perfectionists out there:
Live imperfectly as best as you can so that you can start letting your true self be seen and you can finally feel like you truly belong. Because SHOCKER you do. You belong. Find your folx. Be honest with them and yourself about who you are, then you’ll have your happy imperfect life.
For most of us, happiness means feeling good, having a positive self-image, and succeeding in our personal and professional lives. Without good mental health, however, those are difficult to achieve. Mental health determines how you think, feel, deal with stress, and interact with others every day. It’s a definite health priority, but maintaining good mental health requires mindfulness and a determination to address your need for self-care, no matter how busy you are.
We all need to feel that we belong, that we’re liked and that the people we care about actually value our friendship. So, take good care of your relationships — stay connected with friends, be supportive of others in your social circle, and show an active interest in your friends’ interests. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to celebrate a friend’s good fortune or to show support when things don’t go well for them. Sometimes, just lending a sympathetic ear is enough. Being part of a strong emotional support group requires a sincere willingness to be helpful, but the long-term mental health benefits to you are well worth the effort.
Everyone needs to relax during the course of a hectic week. You can’t ignore the need to unwind if you’re to maintain good mental health, so set aside time for activities that give you joy. Emphasize simple practices that don’t require a heavy financial or time investment. Meditation, a massage, a hot shower or an hour of yoga will help you work off stress. You don’t need a gym membership or pricey workout equipment to achieve good mental and physical health.
Better Sleep Through Technology
Sleep is crucial for your mental well-being. Getting at least seven hours of sleep a night has a direct bearing on your mood and ability to focus at work. If you struggle getting enough sleep, technology can provide an affordable solution. Sleep buds and white noise machines are effective aids that fit nicely within your budget, especially if you take advantage of discounts and savings such as using a BestBuy promo code when shopping online.
Science has discovered a close connection between hygiene and overall health. Practicing good hygiene is inexpensive, helps prevent illness, and benefits you socially, professionally and psychologically. It’s a simple proposition: If you look good, chances are you’ll feel good too, so pay attention to your appearance every day. Be sure to see a dentist for regular cleaning, which will help you avoid expensive dental work later on.
Exercise is one of the best ways to practice self-care. Physical activity gets the blood pumping, engages the mind, and activates endorphins in the brain, which boosts your mood. If you’re watching your money, exercise can provide an inexpensive means of reducing stress and staying fit. Exercise serves multiple purposes: It alleviates stress, strengthens the muscles, and keeps the cardiovascular system in good condition. Exercise not only improves your mental outlook, but it’s also self-empowering and gives you a sense of control over your well-being.
Emphasize healthy eating at home with foods and ingredients from each of the basic food groups, especially vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Cooking healthy meals will help you save money by not eating out, and you’ll feel good about your appearance. It’s a great way to manage your weight and avoid the expense of medical care for problems like diabetes and obesity, which often result from an indifferent and unhealthy diet.
Poor mental health can be very costly. Counseling and the effects of depression on your mental condition can place a definite strain on your budget. Practicing simple, inexpensive self-care habits will help you maintain a positive mental outlook and a healthy lifestyle.
With finals approaching, it's easy to let stress get the best of us. Here are some tips to avoid throwing your mental health on the back burner.
- Set *realistic* goals, and write them down: This allows you to become more motivated in order to cross things off your list, leaving you with the feeling of accomplishment.
-Study groups: Find yourself getting distracted by your phone while studying and then becoming disappointed in how much you didn't get done? Find a few buddies or a group of people in the same class who will study with you. You're less likely to be on your phone while actively studying with others, allowing you to get the most out of your designated 'study time.'
-Do NOT work in bed: Although it might be convenient and comfortable, separate your work and sleep space. Your brain ties emotions to places, so if you're stressed while working on homework in bed, you may not be able to get sleep later when you need to.
-Take advantage of campus programs: UW-Madison offers a variety of different programs through UHS and other facilities, take advantage of them!
-Keep in touch with family and friends: Things will change both at home and in your school life, so take time to be involved in the lives of the people you care about. This will not only give you a healthy distraction from studying, but it will make your parents happy too(;
-Don't be afraid to ask for help: Do this from the start. As soon as you don't understand a topic in the course, go to office hours. Do NOT wait until the night before the test to email your TA or professor at 9:30 pm because they most likely won't respond.
-Don't be afraid to ask for help pt. 2: There are many people on campus who struggle with mental health, so do not feel embarrassed or ashamed to reach out to someone, UHS, professors, friends, for help. Mental illness is a treatable problem, but only if you address it first.
-Realize you can't do everything: Class, work, studying, clubs, etc. all take A LOT of time, but the reality of it all is that sooner or later your body will get run down, as you will most likely sacrifice sleep in order to get more things done. Focus your time doing the things that need to get done (school work) or the things you genuinely love and forget the rest!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.