Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health issues among college students. Depression is not a sign of weakness. Depression can be treated, and early treatment can help reduce symptoms and lessen the likelihood of suicidal thoughts. Depression can often follow a major change in life circumstance (e.g. a death in the family), a relationship breakup, or an exacerbation of stress.
Symptoms of Depression
- Feeling "down" or sad
- Lack of enthusiasm for things that used to be enjoyable (e.g. spending time with friends)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fatigue or decreased energy
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Changes in eating habits
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Persistent aches and pains, digestive troubles, or headaches that do not get better even with treatment
Signs of Suicidal Thoughts
Anyone who expresses suicidal thoughts or tendencies should be taken very, very seriously. Do not hesitate to get help or call a suicide helpline (such as 1-800-SUICIDE) immediately. This is an emergency situation.
- A sudden switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
- Always talking about death
- Depression that gets worse
- Giving away prized belongings
- Having a “death wish”–tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, like driving through red lights
- Saying things like, "It would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out"
- Talking about suicide
How You Can Protect Our Pride
- Make time to talk to your friend. Don’t just text or tweet, but actually sit down, in person, and talk.
- Talk with your friend in private. Let him or her know that you care.
- Listen to your friend. Try not to act shocked, surprised, or challenge him or her.
- Take it seriously. This is a cry for help.
- Encourage your friend to get help. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. Offer to go with him or her to counseling or call and help your friend make an appointment.
- If you suspect someone is suicidal, get help immediately. Separate the person from means of suicide, such as weapons, firearms, medications, etc.
A Word of Caution
You may do your very best to help someone who is depressed or suicidal and your intervention may not be successful. Be sure to take care of yourself and get any help that you may need.