CCBC Student - Contributing Author
What comes to mind when you think about college? Education, freedom, friends and fun are just a few things that can be associated with college life. However, another factor that contributes to college life and one that is often overlooked is mental health.
Mental health is defined as a person’s psychological and emotional well-being. According to the American Psychiatric Association, when an individual suffers from mental illness they experience changes in behavior, thinking and emotion (or a combination of all three).
Mental illness is diagnosed by having a psychological evaluation, which allows an individual to talk to a doctor about their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. The doctor will then use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to determine which mental condition the patient suffers from.
According to an article published by Psychology Today, a 2013 survey of college students found that 57% of women and 40% of men suffer from some sort of mental illness.
Mental illness is often factored by situations that have happened in a person’s life. A local CCBC student says, “I have suffered from anxiety most of my life, it is something that I have learned to deal with. Sometimes it is rewarding that I was able to get dressed and take myself to class. I often feel like I am being critiqued by others around me, even if I say or do nothing at all. If I had to guess where my anxiety came from, I would say it was from the instability in my household. Moving from place-to-place, going to different schools and trying to make new friends took its toll on me mentally. I am currently in therapy and am hoping to move past it, but it’s a constant struggle.”
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Depression is the leading cause of mental illness in college students. Depression is defined as a mood disorder that causes a feeling of sadness and loss of interest. When an individual suffers from depression it can affect how a person feels, acts and thinks. With the changes in mood brought on by depression, an individual can become suicidal.
Suicide is the act of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally. According to Emory.edu, suicide is a leading cause of death among college and university students. One in every 10 college students has a plan for suicide and there are more than 1,000 suicides on college campuses per year.
The risk factors for suicide are depression, anxiety, substance abuse, isolation and hopelessness. If you believe you or someone you know is at risk for suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (1-800) 273-8255.
As with all forms of mental disorders, there is no known cure. However, through case studies doctors have been able to find treatments that can help ease a person’s mental illness. The most common treatment prescribed by doctors are antidepressants. Another type of treatment used is psychotherapy. Psychotherapy teaches a person different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations that help rid of obsessive thoughts and or acting compulsively.
CCBC campuses are doing their part to further education students on mental health. You can learn more by joining the “Psychology and Mental Health Club.” For more information contact the Office of Student Life your campus.
*Articles reflect the views of the author and or those quoted and do not necessarily represent the views of CCBC or the CCBC Connection.