As college students, we face a multitude of stressors each and every day. Whether it be trying to keep up with academics, balancing work schedules, making time to workout or trying to maintain a social life, there are a lot of things standing in the way of living a relaxing life. It is so easy to get caught up in our busy lifestyles and slowly fall into a state of depression.
The Equinox believes in the importance of acknowledging signs of depression. The dictionary defines depression as “feelings of severe despondency and dejection.” Depression can affect anyone at any age. However, it is particularly common among college students.
In 2011, the American College Health Association conducted a nationwide survey in students; at two and four-year institutions and found that 30 percent of college students reported feeling “so depressed that it was difficult to function.”
This screams problem to us here at The Equinox. This type of statistic leaves us wondering, how many students walking around this campus are suffering from depression? How many students are fighting this ongoing internal battle just to feel like themselves again?
The purpose of this editorial is to speak up for those on campus who may be struggling with depression. We want students to realize that they are not alone in this battle.
We found this topic to be appropriate because September is known as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. According to an article on National Alliance on Mental Illness, suicide prevention awareness month “helps promote resources and awareness around the issues of suicide prevention, how you can help others and how to talk about suicide without increasing the risk of harm.”
The website also stated that suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people. There is no doubt that this is a serious issue and we need to become as aware and knowledgeable about it as possible.
The Equinox would like to encourage all students to do their part.
We believe that we, as a campus community, need to work together in an attempt to eliminate the stigma attached to depression. We want people to realize that depression isn’t something to sweep under the rug.
If you notice friends showing signs of depression, such as hopeless, declining interest in things they once enjoyed, changes in sleeping habits, loss of energy, appetite or weight changes, concentration problems, self-loathing and anger or irritability, among other things, you need to step up and intervene.
Never think that talks about depression aren’t worth having. One conversation may save a life. People battling depression are often lost and hopeless. A simple gesture or talk could potentially save a life.
We want to reiterate the idea that depression is incredibly important to talk about. We want to work toward eliminating the shame associated with being depressed. No one should feel as though they are inadequate just because they may not feel mentally stable.
Telling someone who is dealing with chronic depression to simply ‘cheer up’ isn’t going to cut it. Depression is a true chemical imbalance in the brain that causes people to experience mental discomfort.
According to a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, researchers found that the hippocampus was nine to 13 percent smaller in depressed women when compared to those who were not depressed. This type of research proves that depression is more than being in a bad or grumpy mood.
There are actual scientific explanations for how depression affects individuals and what it does to their brains. Recently, there has been talk about semicolon tattoos.
These tattoos, often seen on wrists, are a symbol of a silent fight. The idea is that “a semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life,” according to upworthy.com
A tattoo of this nature holds a lot of weight. It shows the fight so many individuals are up against and exemplifies their strength. We encourage these types of symbols and representations. We think the topic of suicide is often taboo, so it’s important that we speak up about issues of this magnitude.
While being in college can be a very stressful time for us as we emerge into adulthood and take on careers, it can also be a good thing. Keene State College is a place where resources are bountiful. It is important that we make use of these resources and get the help that we need.
Here at Keene State, we have the counseling center. It is located on the third floor of the Elliot Center. Students are welcome to walk in, or make appointments by phone call at (603) 358-2437. The counseling center is available to all students, whether they be full or part-time.
We would also like to note that there is no additional fee, as it has already been paid for with student tuition.
Some new additions to the counseling center website include a link to an online screening for depression, alcohol and eating disorders.
We encourage all students here to take advantage of these resources. We are fortunate enough to have the help that may save lives, if we merely seek it out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We all struggle from time-to-time, some suffer more than others but, regardless, we are all deserving of a happy and healthy life.