Depression is a state of intense despair or sadness, which affects a person’s daily activities and general social functioning. The condition has been ranked among the major causes of suicide amongst college students. More than 40% of college students suffer from this condition, and only a few of them seek help (Luo 80). As for the few who seek treatment, they develop a dependence on their medication, which only worsens the situation. Depression has been an issue among college students, and it becomes more critical as days pass by. As a result of being socially withdrawn, most college students who suffer from depression indulge in drugs or other dangerous activities such as joining gangs. The causes of depression amongst college students differ per person, but there are some common ones, such as the pressure of scoring good grades in school and financial constraints. The majority of the students also feel like they do not have any control over their lives. They struggle with adjusting to adulthood while at the same time depending on their parents. For many years, most people have either misunderstood or overlooked mental health problems, making it impossible for the previous generations to solve them. This paper entails an analysis of the problem of depression in colleges, and it includes its causes and suggested remedies. Readers should be interested in this topic because it raises awareness on the alarming high numbers of depression cases among college students.
Elon University depicts a good example of how colleges have been unable to help students with depression because their current ways are either harmful or ineffective. Generally, students are not comfortable going to other people for help, and they also do not know how to deal with depression on their own (Fernandes et al. 2170). Most of them develop bad habits that help them relieve stress, such as indulging in drugs or misusing the medicine that they have been prescribed in hospitals to treat depression symptoms (Luo 90). Due to all these, these students spiral down into despair, and they get to a situation that they cannot get out of without professional help. All these would not come to be, of colleges offer these students efficient ways to cope with depression.
Causes of Depression
Failed Relationships. One cause of depression amongst students at Elon University is failed relationships. Conflicts in romantic relationships and eventual breakups usually play a significant role in affecting the students’ performances and their mental health (Fernandes et al. 2072). This is a common problem in colleges, and most students do not know how to gauge the negative impact that the relationships will have on their academic performances (Moeller and Martin 10). Dating students have to divide their time between studying and spending time with their significant others. As a result, they do not concentrate fully on schoolwork, making them lag in their performances (Moeller and Martin 13). When their relationships fail, these students feel as though they fail in both their social and academic lives. This feeling affects their mental health, and for this reason, they will fail to concentrate in classes, which eventually worsens their condition (Luo 90). Breakups generate high levels of depressive symptoms, and some students usually result in committing suicide.
Financial Constraints. Financial constraints have caused depression among many students at Elon University, and these financial factors range from being unable to afford bills, family debts, and student loans. Some students end up borrowing money from their peers, and this makes them lose their self-esteem hence feeling depressed (Moeller and Martin 9). In most situations, the majority of students are not able to afford their tuition fees, daily expenses, rent, and college materials. For this reason, these students end up applying for loans, which accumulate greatly with time (Fernandes et al. 2175). The only way that they can repay these loans is by looking for jobs while they are still pursuing their degree. The courses in colleges are enough to make students feel depressed, and having to work worsens the situation (Ramon-Arbues et al. 7001). Work interferes with their studies, and this increases the pressure that these students have. These students might eventually drop out of school because of their poor performances.
Dropping out of school is not an option because the parents would be disappointed because they have high expectations of their children. The students then start to question whether college is worth it and whether things will change in the future (Luo 90). This constant uncertainty and worries regarding financial matters and catching up with studies results in depression. Studies suggest that about twenty-five percent of students who have reported critical financial distress also reported having symptoms of depression (Ramon-Arbues et al. 7001). Only a small percentage of students with less or no financial distress report high levels of depression.
Selection of Majors. The majority of students at Elon University are pressured to study the major against their will. The students must select their major because after deciding on it, they will have to take on other subjects related to their major (Fernandes et al. 2169). Additionally, they will also have to work in jobs that are related to their major. All students have their major of preference, but they are unable to pursue it because of their parents’ opinions. In almost all scenarios, parents will always have an opinion over their children’s choices (Luo 90). In turn, this makes the students become unaware of who they want to be because they are not sure whether to follow their choices or follow their parents’ choices. For most students, voicing their opinions is useless because, in the end, they will have to pursue the course that their parents chose (Ramon-Arbues et al. 7001). This, in turn, makes it hard for them to perform well in school because they are not studying what they love. As they try to adapt to the course, they feel the pressure of following their parents’ choices, and this eventually results in depression (Luo 90). Poor performance will make them feel as though they are not competent enough in their current major. This feeling of incompetence makes them lack self-determination and, in the end, causes symptoms of depression.
Pressure to Perform Well in School. Lastly, a high percentage of students are pressured to perform well in school, which is evident at Elon University. It is not easy for students to balance social life, assignments, homework, extracurricular activities, and explore their campus environment (Ramon-Arbues et al. 7001). Students have to learn the hard way to adjust to a new environment they had never experienced in high school. In college, no one is available to guide them on what to do because parents and teachers believe that these students are already adults (Fernandes et al. 2173). Society expects them to maneuver around the new environment and come up with ways to solve their problems without anyone’s help.
Students have multiple assignments, and this makes them feel overwhelmed because they have no idea of where to begin. Due to this, they feel lost, and they end up doing school assignments in a rush, a few hours before the deadlines (Luo 99). Failure to concentrate on their studies causes them to score poor grades, which increases the pressure that they already have. The bad grades affect them and their parents because all parents expect their children to score good grades in school (Ramon-Arbues et al. 7009). Students who perform poorly develop the feeling of being paralyzed by parental academic pressure, and this causes them to be depressed. Students try to juggle schoolwork, form social relationships, work, and other college activities (Ramon-Arbues et al. 7005). The sudden pressure of being independent affects them because they do not have enough time to transition from childhood to adulthood. Most of them feel lost in between because they feel that they are not adults enough, and they are also not children, which makes it hard for them, leading to depression.
Remedies to Depression Amongst College Students
Adapting to college life is not easy for most students, and for this reason, colleges and universities should come up with efficient ways to help the students cope with the transition. The main way of doing so is by establishing friendly psychotherapy institutions within the colleges and universities (Moeller and Martin 10). The school should provide licensed and well-trained mental health professionals who will help the students to find relief from their symptoms. Some of the issues that lead to depression cannot be solved, but students can talk to someone who will guide them to handle their problems positively (Moeller and Martin 9). Not all therapists are fit for all students, and the school should develop a way to gauge whether the therapists are a good fit for all students. They can do this by hiring professionals who have previous experience dealing with students (Fernandes et al. 2174). The therapists hired should have the ability to connect with all the students, making it easier for the students to open up to them. Colleges should also develop special accommodations for the students whose depression symptoms are affecting their academic and social performance.
A school can have the best therapists, but students fail to seek help for several reasons, such as fear of being judged. Therefore, the school should come up with ways to create awareness of mental health (Luo 91). Parents should also be included in these campaigns that address mental health because they contribute to depression (Ramon-Arbues et al. 7004). These campaigns to create mental health awareness should encourage students to seek help in case they experience any symptoms of depression. Some students might even have depression symptoms, but they are not aware they are sick (Moeller and Martin 11). The campaigns should also address the issue of using drugs to escape from the depression symptoms. Colleges should gather students who have gone through the therapy sessions and have healed from depression and encourage them to share their experiences with other students (Moeller and Martin 12). This measure will help eradicate the fear that exists among students concerning seeking help. Eventually, students will have the courage to seek therapy, and they will manage to cope with the problems that have caused the depression.
For a long time, many people have overlooked or misunderstood mental health issues, and this has made it hard to solve the issue of depression among college students. If parents and teachers have taken the issue of mental health among college students seriously, the rate of depression might have been lower than it is today. The major causes of depression among students would not be much of an issue if they had someone to guide them on coping with the changes that come with joining colleges or universities. Therapists will help students deal with the problems of relationships, financial management, and adapting to the new environment. As for the pressure from parents, the therapist can arrange for sessions with the parents and guide them on how to give their children space to make decisions for their lives. Doing so will promote a healthy school environment and reduce depression cases.
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Luo, Xinjun. “Intervention effect of long-distance running on depression of colleges students.” Revista Argentina de Clínica Psicológica 29.2 (2020): 90.
Moeller, Robert W., and Martin Seehuus. “Loneliness as a mediator for college students’ social skills and experiences of depression and anxiety.” Journal of adolescence 73 (2019): 1-13.
Ramón-Arbués, Enrique, et al. “The prevalence of depression, anxiety and stress and their associated factors in college students.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17.19 (2020): 7001.