Stress, Anxiety and Depression in College

Stress is something we all face at some point in our lives and even more so in college. We have finals to take and scholarships we need to maintain, yet we are still expected to have a fun social life and go out with friends. This stress can transform into something more serious, like anxiety or depression, if we don't know how to handle it correctly.

According to the American Psychological Association (1), 61% of students report they have anxiety, 49% report they have depression, and 45% have stress. To put that into a picture: at my college, we have a little over 12,000 people currently attending (2). This means according to the statistics, over 6,100 students have anxiety, 4,900 students have depression and 4,500 are dealing with stress. When you see the numbers (and the people) behind the percents, you notice how much it truly affects a college system as a whole.

While the numbers look bleak, there are ways that we can manage stressful aspects of our lives so that we can live a happy, healthy life. Most colleges provide [free] resources such as counseling or a licensed psychiatrist to help equip you with coping skills that you can practice on your own. For example, these sources could help you find better ways to study that lower your stress levels during finals, or how not to blank on your next exam.

If you don't feel comfortable talking to someone in person, which hey, I get it, I recommend contacting the Lifeline Crisis chat (3). They can help you if you feel stressed about family issues, or if you are having problems with a friend. I have personally used their services a multiple of times and can say that it truly feels like a boulder was taken off of my chest when we finished talking.

There are multiple stress-coping mechanisms that don't include talking to someone. Something that has worked for me is putting some lavender on a small piece of felt and keeping it close. The essential oils have stress reducing capabilities and keeping it close ensures that I can get wafts of it regularly. Another great thing I do is channeling my attention onto a craft or hobby. I learned to make jewelry! If you are like me, and your world can sometimes go 50 miles per hour, it can be good to focus your attention on something else to slow your mind down. With bracelets, you have to focus so much not to drop the bead, or that you are making the right knot at the right time, you cannot focus on the world around you.

While these are just a few things that help me, there are a lot of different things that may work for you! I linked a list of coping skills from the internet that you could try (4). Don't listen to anyone who says, “This has to work for you,”, because everyone heals differently.