Depression and College Students (NIMH)

Feeling moody, sad, or grouchy? Who doesn’t once in a while? College is an exciting time, but it can also be very challenging. As a college student, you might be leaving home for the first time, learning to live independently, taking tough classes, meeting new people, and getting a lot less sleep. Small or large setbacks can seem like the end of the world, but these feelings usually pass with a little time. But if you have been feeling sad, hopeless, or irritable for at least 2 weeks, you might have depression. You’re not alone. Depression is the most common health problem for college students.

But if you have been feeling sad, hopeless, or irritable for at least 2 weeks, you might have depression. You’re not alone. Depression is the most common health problem for college students. You should know:

  • Depression is a medical illness.
  • Depression can be treated.
  • Early treatment is best.
  • Most colleges offer free or low-cost mental health services to students.

Depression is a medical illness with many symptoms, including physical ones. Sadness is only a small part. Some people with depression may not feel sadness at all, but be more irritable, or just lose interest in things they usually like to do. Depression interferes with your daily life and normal function. Don’t ignore or try to hide the symptoms. It is not a character flaw, and you can’t will it away.

If you have symptoms of depression that are getting in the way of your ability to function with your studies and your social life, ask for help. It can get better with care and treatment. Don’t wait for depression to go away by itself or think you can manage it all on your own, and don’t ignore how you’re feeling just because you think you can “explain” it. As a college student, you’re busy—but you need to make time to get help

A publication from the National Institute of Mental Health

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