While some may be leery to utter the word, the fact remains that depression affects a large group of college students.
Researchers from the American Psychological Association say depression is more common in college students than it was even a decade ago.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), nearly 30 percent of college students reported trouble functioning due to a clinically diagnosed case of depression.
In addition, more than 6 percent seriously contemplated suicide.
To combat depression, one must recognize the symptoms of depression.
Losing interest in things you once enjoyed, feelings of sadness or anxiety, distancing yourself from friends, and being irritable are all symptoms of depression.
The NIMH states, among many things, depression can affect academic performances.
Depression is a familiar word for business major Shawna McDaniel.
“My second year in college I went into a big depression,” McDaniel said. “I had to drop out of school.”
Although the manifestation of depression is sometimes unclear, academic pressures and life transitions seem to be a commonality among college students suffering from depression.
Student Support Services counselor Jenna Howard says depression can occur for multiple reasons.
“Sometimes it’s a biological issue, such as hormones; sometimes it’s maybe relationships aren’t working well or there is a conflict; or sometimes it’s constant negative thinking about oneself.”
McDaniel remembers these all too well.
“I think it was from the stress of college life, being on my own, having a lot of stuff on my plate, and other things.”
McDaniel recommends using Student Support Services, located on the first floor of the Main Building, if students think they are experiencing signs of depression.
“It’s a great tool for anyone who thinks they are in a depression.
“That’s why they are there. And it’s free.”
Effective treatment for depression is available on campus, free of charge, for individuals seeking help.
Student Support Services offers confidential counseling to students. As licensed therapists, they treat depression, loneliness, anxiety, eating problems, abuse issues and conflict management.
The American Psychiatric Association noted that the onset of many mental health conditions is the typical college age range of 18 to 24 years old.
If left untreated, depression can last a long time, and can also become increasingly worse.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, approximately 1,100 college students commit suicide each year.
Howard said a good safeguard to battle depression is having a strong social support group.
“I think when people isolate themselves, they can become more susceptible to depression.”
Individuals interested in a mental health screening can do so through Student Support Services at the OCCC website.
Student Support Services is located in the main building and open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m..
For more information call 405-682-7520.
To contact Casey R. Akard,