Today: Jun 16, 2024

Preventing depression in students

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Vivian Lissette Rivera – Special to the Southern News

Depression and anxiety have been linking to students with the oncoming stress of midterms.

“Stress is caused by the stimulation of our protection system, our ‘fight or flight’ system,” said Dr. Julie Ann Liefeld, director of the counseling services here on campus. “Like if you lived in a cave, and a bear appeared, your body physiologically reacts and releases chemicals while preparing to fight or run for your life.”

Liefeld explains how coming to college is very stressful for new incoming freshman in particular because it’s full of deadlines and new experiences.

“I go out on my bike when I have the time and spend a nice hour on the road, doing whatever,” junior Ahad Chaudry said.

As for the many places to de-stress on campus, try the fitness center in The Adanti Student Center. The Pelz gym is offered as an alternative workout area, for free. Most of the time, students forget the most important thing: food. Students who are so deeply consumed in their studies that they constantly forget to consume at least three meals a day.

So, when should a student know when to seek help? The counselors on campus advise owls to seek assistance when stress has become more than one person can handle, when it gets in the way of life. However, depression caused by the continuous amounts of stress can be tricky. It may just seem like someone is just sleeping more than normal, or drinking more than they usually do, or even more angry and agitated than they have ever been. As soon as any thought of hurting yourself comes into mind, that is the queue of when to seek help.

“Most frequently,” said Liefeld, “a student has a history where a counselor broke confidence on them and talked to their parents or guardians and thus made it unsafe, some families teach their kids that they are weak if they need a counselor, and some students are still unaware that these services here are free.”

Health should come first when approaching anything that can cause stress. The symptoms may vary from person to person. Yet, there should be an open eye out for- not only naked patches of hair on one’s head – but also frequent insomnia, decreased productivity of work, headaches, muscle tension or pain, fatigue, or an upset stomach. A few more dangerous symptoms that are not easily noticed are high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

“Take it one day at a time and don’t let everything pile up,” junior Jessica Simkus said.

Depression may take the energy and will to do anything and anxiety may also be about worry and fear. These are two big reasons why a person may choose to not seek any help.

“Getting help is not being weak or showing vulnerability,” said Liefeld, “It’s the strongest thing a person can do. Further treatment doesn’t take forever, some students feel like they do not have time to get help. Sometimes, symptoms are resolved in only a few weeks, some take longer, but treatment usually goes quickly.”

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