How to Actively Fight Depression in College

Many of us think of college as an amazing new experience filled with a new found freedom and an abundance of good times waiting to be had while learning to find out who you are. Yet in recent years, depression and anxiety has been affecting college students at an alarming rate. According to a 2015 survey, more than 90,000 college students are suffering from these diseases. While the numbers climb, most universities don't have the resources available to assist students with the tools they need. But I know for a fact– as I too also struggle with depression– that here at WVU they have a great support system just waiting for you to take advantage of.

The Carruth Center is located on the Evansdale Campus across from the Student Recreation Center. The office is on the second floor of the building, the first room to your left as you get off the elevators, in Room 227. They are dedicated to helping students in many different areas and will help get you back on your feet. They help with psychiatry and individual or group counseling as well as couples therapy and substance abuse counseling. They even can get you started on a medication to help combat the feelings of depression. As a person who often frequents there, I can attest that they have been very helpful in pulling me out of my depression and guiding me in the direction that I need to go.

If your depression is mild or moderate, exercising is a good way to release endorphins– neurotransmitters that produce an overall positive feeling within the body, which fight depression naturally. Though if your depression is severe you probably don't feel well enough to do anything and won't get anything out of it. Which is were going to the Carruth Center would be more beneficial for you.

While depressed, you may feel the need to stay in bed all day and binge a show on Netflix, yet that’s the last thing you should be doing. Be up and active -- as in going out and socializing! Hang out with friends, doing something in a club or volunteering for community activities in the area. Doing anything that has you interacting with others will help your mind focus on something other than negative thoughts and will lift your spirits.

Do something you enjoy doing -- even if you don't feel like doing it. From experience, I know how hard it can be to force yourself to do this. I love writing but when I am fighting depression it makes the simplest task seem unmanageable. I often sit in front of the computer screen, staring at the blank word document waiting for the words to appear on their own. I find that writing down my feelings will eventually blend into me working on what I wanted to write. Start slow and don’t stress yourself out about it. As long as you are trying that’s all that matters.

Just remember: you are worth it! And don’t beat yourself up over feeling bad! Letting negativity fester inside will only make things worse. Understand that you will have bad days, but be positive that when they come around you will do what you can to make it through. You don’t have to finish that stack of homework and don’t stress out over classes. Take your time because your peace of mind is more important than all that stress. But if you feel like your mental health is starting to affect your grades, it’s probably time to head over to the Carruth Center.

Signs of Depression:

  • Feelings of hopelessness and or numbness

  • Loss of interest

  • Fatigue and sleeping problems

  • Physical feelings of pain

  • Irritability

  • Anxiety -- nervousness, feelings of panic, rapid breathing, sweating, muscle twitching

  • Change in appetite and weight

  • Uncontrollable emotions

  • Thinking about death

If you or someone you know shows signs of hurting themselves reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

Their phone number is 1-800-273-8255

Website for more information: Suicidepreventionlifeline.org

 

The Carruth Center information:

Phone number: 304-293-4431

Website: https://carruth.wvu.edu/

Hours:

Monday: 8:15 AM – 8:00 PM

Tuesday: 8:15 AM – 8:00 PM

Wednesday: 8:15 AM – 8:00 PM

Thursday: 8:15 AM – 8:00 PM

Friday: 8:15 AM – 4:45 PM

Saturday: Closed

Sunday: Closed

Incase of a life threatening emergency you should always call 911 or the University Police Department at 304-293-2677.