Is Depression on the Rise Within College Students?
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

Is Depression on the Rise Within College Students?


The National Institute of Mental Health defines depression as, "a common but serious mental illness typically marked by prolonged sad or anxious feelings."

This week, yet another tragedy enveloped Baylor University's campus with the heartbreaking passing of San Antonio senior, Joshua Partridge. 

To disregard the larger implications of Partridge's death would be a disservice to this campus. Students, faculty, and staff must be informed of the signs of depression. We must be vigilantly aware and looking for these signs, as well as know what can be done in assistance of friends, peers and sometimes oneself. 

It was reported in 2011 by the American College Health Association–National College Health Assessment that 30% of college students claimed feelings of doubt and depression made it difficult, and often prevented them, from carrying on their normal day-to-day activities. According to a study by the American Psychological Association in 2011 and a report by the National Public Radio, the percentage of students on psychiatric medication has increased by 10% over the last ten years alone. A study by Northwestern University found that one out of every four or five students who visits a university health center for a routine cold or sore throat turns out to be depressed.

The college experience itself can often bring about symptoms of depression. Students are in a new environment, often have a heavier stress load due to rigorous courses and have left behind the only support system of family and friends that most have ever known. Dr. Katherine Nordal, with the American Psychological Association points out that unfortunately, this new set of peers does not typically have a reference point for the student’s behavior, making it harder to determine what behaviors are out of character for the student and when to become concerned. 

As depression among students increases, recognizing the symptoms can become even more difficult.  Symptoms usually develop over longer periods of time and are often unnoticeable to many. Some symptoms that are indicators of possible depression include a separation from friends and family, loss of interest, feelings of worthlessness, problems concentrating and making decisions, minor prevailing health issues, sudden outbursts of unexplainable rage or sadness and strange changes in sleeping/eating patterns. 

College students suffering from depression specifically tend to become extremely lethargic about attending class and completing assignments. They can also develop a severe alcohol or drug dependency. 

If you or a friend ever feel like these symptoms describe you, the safest and most effective next step is to talk to a doctor or mental health care provider. Most colleges, like Baylor, offer free or cheap mental health care to students. Thankfully, treatments for this illness have very high success rates. When treating depression, early diagnosis is key. This is where the student body can help by staying vigilant for symptoms. 

If ever you feel you might need help immediately or are contemplating suicide, please call the national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255. If you or someone you know is in a crisis, make sure you are aware of the signs of depression. 

Never take comments about suicide lightly. Be there for your friends and listen to what they have to say; don’t be afraid to encourage them towards seeking professional help. Luckily, young people are often more resilient and can heal from this mental illness much faster and more completely than most adults. As the number of students that depression impinges upon continues to increase, we as a community need to become more aware of the signs and preventative measures in order to better protect ourselves and others.

Photo courtesy of 

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less

Challah vs. Easter Bread: A Delicious Dilemma

Is there really such a difference in Challah bread or Easter Bread?

loaves of challah and easter bread stacked up aside each other, an abundance of food in baskets

Ever since I could remember, it was a treat to receive Easter Bread made by my grandmother. We would only have it once a year and the wait was excruciating. Now that my grandmother has gotten older, she has stopped baking a lot of her recipes that require a lot of hand usage--her traditional Italian baking means no machines. So for the past few years, I have missed enjoying my Easter Bread.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments