Tween and teen health (24)
- Strength training: OK for kids?
- Healthy body image: Tips for guiding girls
- Dehydration and youth sports: Curb the risk
- see all in Tween and teen health
Tween health (6)
- Menstruation: Preparing your preteen for her period
- Inhalant abuse: Is your child at risk?
- Bullying: Help your child handle a school bully
- see all in Tween health
Teen health (22)
- Teen weight loss: Healthy habits count
- Teenage pregnancy: Consider the options
- Teen eating disorders: Tips to protect your teen
- see all in Teen health
College depression: What parents need to know
What should I do if I suspect my child is experiencing college depression?
College students may have difficulty seeking help for depression out of embarrassment or fear of not fitting in. Signs and symptoms also may be more difficult to notice from afar. If you suspect that your child is dealing with college depression, talk to him or her about what's going on and ask him or her to make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. Many colleges offer counseling services that also might be helpful.
Remember, depression symptoms may not get better on their own — and depression may get worse if it isn't treated. Untreated depression can lead to other mental and physical health issues or problems in other areas of life. Feelings of depression can also increase the likelihood of substance abuse and the risk of suicide.
How can I help my child cope with college depression?
In addition to seeking treatment, encourage your child to take other steps to cope with college depression. For example:
- Plan ahead. Encourage your child to take time each day to set priorities and goals. This will help your child develop a sense of control and confidence. It will also help him or her avoid putting off important class work until late at night, which can lead to fatigue.
- Participate in activities. Playing a sport or joining a club can help your child meet people with similar interests, as well as provide a change of pace from schoolwork.
- Seek support from friends. Encourage your child to get to know people in his or her dorm and classes. Friends can help your child feel more comfortable in a new environment.
- Try to relax. Your child may be able to reduce his or her stress level through physical activity, meditation, deep-breathing exercises, long walks or other calming activities.
- Set aside alone time. Spending time alone can help your child re-energize and feel a sense of control over his or her life.
How can I help prevent college depression?
There's no sure way to prevent college depression. However, helping your child become accustomed to his or her college campus before the start of the school year can prevent your child from feeling overwhelmed by the transition. Encourage your child to visit the campus and talk to other students, peer counselors or faculty about what to expect and where to turn for support. If your college-bound child has a history of depression, talk to your child's doctor about what kind of counseling options might best help your child with the transition to college. In addition, help your child become familiar with campus counseling resources. Remember, getting treatment at the earliest sign of a problem can help prevent college depression from worsening.Previous page
(2 of 2)
- Factsheet: Depression in college. Mental Health America. http://www.nmha.org/index.cfm?objectid=C7DF94EF-1372-4D20-C82C6662A99A89AD. Accessed March 19, 2010.
- Mental health: What a difference student awareness makes. Department of Health and Human Services. http://promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov/publications/collegelife.aspx. Accessed March 23, 2010.
- Mental health services and choosing a college: Striking a balance. National Alliance on Mental Illness. http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Find_Support/NAMI_on_Campus1/Mental_Health_and_Choosing_a_College/Mental_Health_and_Choosing_a_College.htm. Accessed March 23, 2010.
- Taliaferro LA, et al. Associations between physical activity and reduced rates of hopelessness, depression, and suicidal behavior among college students. Journal of American College Health. 2009;57:427.
- Cranford JA, et al. Substance use behaviors, mental health problems, and use of mental health services in a probability sample of college students. Addictive Behaviors. 2009;34:134.
- Depressive disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed March 26, 2010.
- College age students. American Psychiatric Association. http://www.healthyminds.org/More-Info-For/College-Age-Students.aspx. Accessed April 1, 2010.
- National college health assessment: Reference group executive summary. Spring 2008. American College Health Association. http://www.achancha.org/docs/ACHA-NCHA_Reference_Group_ExecutiveSummary_Spring2008.pdf. Accessed April 1, 2010.
- Hall-Flavin DK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 26, 2010.
- Your adolescent — Depressive disorders. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/publication_store/your_adolescent_depressive_disorders. Accessed July 27, 2010.
- Adjustment disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Sept. 1, 2010.
- Adjustment disorders. In: Sadock BJ, et al. Kaplan and Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Sept. 1, 2010.