Depression:common issue on college campuses

Depression:common issue on college campuses

by Ben Frotscher

Depression affects 9.5 percent, or 18.8 million, Americans whoare 18 years of age and over, according to the National Instituteof Mental Health.

Nearly 1.5 million college students also show signs ofdepression. Anything from an overload of classes to dating problemsor lack of sleep can cause depression.

Simpson College counselor, Craig Peck, said that one-half totwo-thirds of students who receive help from him present symptomsof depression.

The number of students who show signs of depression here atSimpson have been on the rise.

“They have probably gone up slightly in the past three or fouryears,” said Peck.

While numbers at Simpson continue to rise slightly, Peck saidthat the number of students showing signs of depression is aboutthe same at any other college comparable to Simpson.

“Simpson is very consistent with other same-sized schools,” hesaid.

When it comes to reasons why people all across the world havedepression, there are a few main reasons.

The biological makeup of a person can cause depression; everyperson is made up differently. Whether or not a person willexperience depression depends on the amount of certain brainchemicals and how they interact in the central nervous system.

A person’s psychological makeup can also cause depression.Personality traits are often defined in early childhood and thetraits that a person develops can determine whether depression isin their future.

Suffering a loss in the family, having an extended illness orexperiencing problems with relationships can cause depression.These events are considered life altering and are significantfactors when diagnosing depression.

Students who just feel overwhelmed can also exhibit signs ofdepression. Feeling overworked and overloaded with schoolwork cancause this.

“Young people have an incredible amount of pressure onthemselves,” said Peck.

When looking for depression, Peck said that there are manysymptoms that can be spotted.

Being in an extended depressed mood, suffering diminishedinterest in activities that were once enjoyable, withdrawing fromlife, suffering from dramatic gains or losses in weight, insomniaand fatigue are many basic symptoms of depression.

There are certain times during the year that Peck said he seesan increase in visits from students on campus: February andOctober.

Peck attributes this to shorter days, bad weather and midterms.Peck also said that after February, he sees less and less people inhis office because of better weather, summer is right around thecorner and classes are almost done.

Depression also tends to be more common in one sex compared toanother.

“Women are more prone to depression than men,” said Peck.

Peck said he has noticed this in his seven years of work here atSimpson, primarily because women are more apt than men are to go toa counselor when having problems.

When dealing with depression, Peck said that it could be veryhard.

“For some people, it is a life long struggle,” he said.

If a student is suffering from depression, there are two optionsthat they can try. The first is medical treatment and another is tolocate a counselor.

Peck said that the biggest struggle for people who suffer fromdepression is getting them to get help.

“It’s hard for them to follow through with getting help,” saidPeck. “It’s hard getting them motivated.”