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Depression Among College Students Essay

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Is the occurrence of depression among college students a real phenomenon or is it just an individual’s perception of life? To most people, joining college is a life-changing experience that that should positively influence the life of a person. It is a time of great freedom and learning experience through self-realization. This is indeed true, but has any of you stopped and wondered about the daily challenges and problems that college students go through that may lead to depression? Various forms of depression can lead to a decreased level of motivation and abnormal functioning of daily activities. To a considerable extent, the effects of depression affect both the individual suffering and those who are close to them.

As most students and I can attest, depression is a real phenomenon that interferes with the lives of many students. I am convinced that a mechanism to prevent the phenomenon, which involves collaborative efforts of parents, teaching staff, and the students, should be put in place to help eliminate the adverse effects of depression.

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To begin with, let us look at depression in the context of institutions of learning, the effects it has on students, and the potential ways of dealing with the vice. Additionally, we will see the role each of us can play to assist in controlling or entirely preventing the spread of depression among students. Depression, as highlighted by Gençoğlu et al., is a mental disorder that affects a victims’ mood, body, and thoughts (625). Equally, Musumari et al. (14) and Drouin et al. (450) depict depression among college students as a significant problem that can considerably hinder the performance of students regardless of their institution of learning. For instance, in a single semester alone, according to research carried out by Chow et al. (180), 1 in every five college student had shown some forms of depression. The findings by Chow et al. would mean that in a class of 50 students, ten would be suffering from the harmful effects of depression. This is not a small number as it can considerably affect the performance of individual students and others mainly in learning approaches that require group participation.

Likewise, a publication in The New York Times reveals that in 2018, a survey conducted among college students indicated that more than 60 percent of the students were going through instances of overwhelming anxiety with another 40 percent agreeing to the fact that their level of depression had made it difficult for them to function normally (Wolverton Para 7). With the increasing instances of depression among students, there has been a rise in the need to find long-lasting coping mechanisms. For example, the Center for Collegiate Health reported a 30 percent increase in the number of students who were looking for counseling services within campuses between the fall of 2009 and spring of 2015. The need for counseling services has also led to an increase in the number of counseling centers across colleges.

The rise in depression among college students can be attributed to factors such as anxiety, increased workload, financial burdens, and uncertainty regarding the prospects of a student’s future career among others. Students leaving home to spend a semester away from their parents and family is an underestimated transition in their lives, and people do not comprehend the difficulties they face to adapt in their new environment. Lack of proper sleep due to increased tasks both in and away from school can affect the social life and the overall performance of students. As pointed out in The New York Times article, an increase in mental health issues may lead to extreme cases of violence such as the 2007 mass shooting that took place in Virginia Tech.

Nonetheless, the problem of depression among students can be reduced or eliminated by adopting a holistic approach to understanding the difficulties that students go through in their institutions of learning. I believe having access to counseling services and incorporating parental, and teacher engagement sessions will provide an avenue for students to share their perceptions and the problems they face. Ignoring a suffering student may lead to further misery as they may engage in negative coping mechanisms such as drug abuse or worse violent activities with the possibility of committing suicide. Constant communication with the depressed victims’ parents and loved is one way of bringing them closer and eliminating potential environmental stressors. As Katirai et al. point out, talking with people in authority can be of great importance in dealing with the problem (93).

An interview carried out by Julie Scelfo indicates that both male and female students go through the same pressure. However, male students tend to have a significantly higher rate of suicide when compared to their female counterparts (Scelfo). Further, Julie notes that the environment and stressful life events are significant determinants of depression and suicide among students. Therefore, if the cycle is allowed to go on, instances of depression will continue to be experienced in colleges.

Imagine living in a society where instances of depression are rampant among young school going students. The future of our society would be left in the hands of people with limited self-control resulting from stress and the negative consequences that come with it. Saving our current generation of students can go a long way in making sure our society remains resilient regarding depression thereby ensuring an emotionally strong leadership in the future.

We all have a part to play in changing our society on issues concerning depression. I suggest that you write to various colleges to make them aware of depression in their institution. Within these letters, you can suggest answers to depression, which affects us. As you prepare to do so, remember that we have a role to play in changing our society.

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Works Cited
Chow, Peter, et al. “A Technique to Measure College Students on the Depression- Elation Continuum.” College Student Journal, vol. 52, no. 2, Summer 2018, pp. 177–186.
Drouin, Michelle, et al. “College Students in Distress: Can Social Media Be a Source of Social Support?” College Student Journal, vol. 52, no. 4, Winter 2018, pp. 494–504.
Gençoğlu, Cem, et al. “General Self-Efficacy and Forgiveness of Self, Others, and Situations as Predictors of Depression, Anxiety, and Stress in University Students.” Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, vol. 18, no. 3, June 2018, pp. 605–626.
Katirai, Whitney, et al. “The Relationship between Depression, Stress, and Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD) among College Students from 2010-2015.” Education & Health, vol. 36, no. 4, Dec. 2018, pp. 91–98.
Musumari, Patou Masika, et al. “Grit Is Associated with Lower Level of Depression and Anxiety among University Students in Chiang Mai, Thailand: A Cross-Sectional Study.” PLoS ONE, vol. 13, no. 12, Dec. 2018, pp. 1–16.
Scelfo, Julie. “Answers About Campus Depression and Suicide Risk Among College Students.” The New York Times, 4 Aug 2015, https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/04/answers-about-campus-depression-and-suicide-risk-among-college-students/
Wolverton, Brad. “As Students Struggle With Stress and Depression, Colleges Act as Counselors.” The New York Times, 21 February 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/21/education/learning/mental-health-counseling-on-campus.html

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