So many students, in fact, a majority of college students suffer from depression, diagnosed or otherwise. It is a huge epidemic in this country and we need to talk about it. According to a peer-reviewed bestcolleges.com article written by Lyss Welding, students explained that they feel they must choose between their mental well being and a degree, which should not have to be a choice. I have heard many students say they’ve considered dropping out or have dropped out because of their mental health issues, especially depression.
In fact, more than one in three college students suffer from either depression or anxiety. As well, in the state of Rhode Island, there are 178,000 adults including college students that suffer from a mental illness, which is more than seven times the population of Newport. How many of these people suffer from depression and how many are college students? And how many of them go to Rhode Island College? We don’t have statistics on this, but it can be implied that many college students in this state could very well have a mental illness. And how many people live with undiagnosed depression?
These are real problems that need to be addressed. But don’t just take it from me. I spoke to several students who go to RIC on depression and college.
“Depression is a wave that floods your basement,” a freshman said when describing what depression feels like. “In that basement, your papers and memories drown. Throw in school. More papers, more memories, and you are still drowning.”
The fact that a freshman says this is shocking. This also showcases how even students in their first year are experiencing the effects of depression surrounding college, which must be addressed. If college freshmen are feeling the effects of depression, what about our sophomores, juniors, seniors and grad students?
“Depression is like the static blaring on an antenna television,” another RIC student said when describing what depression is like. “Occasionally, you’ll hear the right signals break through; the signals of your college work, your life responsibilities and all. Through the cacophony of the static, though, it’s nothing but noise and disarray. It might seem easy to others for you to tune everything right, but deep down, you know it’s just easiest to turn everything off.”
The fact that students are able to say so much about their experiences with depression says a lot about this society’s overload of depression in young adults. Especially in regards to midterm fatigue. Many students are not trying as hard in their classes, especially during midterms, when the workload becomes heavier.
As far as personal experience goes, I have suffered from depression since I was 13 years old. Now that I am 21, being in my junior year of college, it has only gotten worse, and it feels different too. It is not the same depression I faced when I was in middle school, or the depression I faced when I was in high school. My college depression deals with trying to get the classes I need, keeping up with the copious amounts of work and going to my day job. There are days I don’t even want to leave my room. It is all I can do to get myself out of bed, get ready and leave for work and school. I struggle to even make it on the Dean’s list most semesters. My battle with depression is hard, but being in college makes it ten times worse.
One way that we could try to help students suffering from depression is to, at the very least, address what is going on with them. If we are able to do so, this will help students to be more open about their struggles. As well, the course load for most students is beyond what someone with depression is able to handle, myself included, and the amount of credits that this college requires is outstanding.
If the amount of classes needed was reduced by even 10 credits, that would save students time and money, and benefit their mental health. As well, counselors and therapy need to be more accessible to students. If a student is having any kind of issue surrounding mental health, discussions need to open in regards to that. Ignorance is not bliss in these situations. In order to help college students facing these problems, it will take both awareness and being proactive.
If you or a loved one is suffering from depression and having suicidal thoughts, call 911 or the National suicide hotline 800-273-TALK (8255). Campus police are also available by phone at 401-456-8201.