Under pressure: Stress of college life leads to mental illnesses



Natalie Hilden

One in every three college students experience some form of depression, according to an Oct. 11 article from USAToday.

While dwelling on the thoughts that make us feel alone, we need to remember we aren’t the only ones facing these battles and help is never as far away as it feels.

What has to be remembered is everyday college student stress can quickly turn to depressive thoughts. There is a slippery slope between “I failed this test and I want to die” and “I am failing to see any purpose in my life.” And in a world where mental illness is classified as “over-dramatized” and suicide jokes are acceptable, that slope becomes harder and harder to see.

A lot of pressure rides on the shoulders of college students. Not only the pressure to succeed, but also not to waste the money we all spend to attend a four-year university. That pressure can be a looming, dark cloud. As a freshman who’s new to this whole “being far away from the familiar” thing, I can say that most of the time these sort of feelings come and go.

A new-found awareness has revealed itself to me the last couple of weeks in the form of my friends coming to me with severe thoughts. Being able to reinforce their value and worth to this world has reminded me of my own.

My own thoughts have been overwhelming and hard to handle at times, but when you see what others go through, it’s a good moment to reflect and shut down the voice saying you are struggling alone.

You are never alone and should never be afraid to reach out if that voice gets too loud.

In today’s society, getting professional help for mental illnesses is often looked at as a weakness. But knowing you need help and initiating the process is one of the strongest things you can do – and the most difficult.

For anyone suffering with these types of depressive thoughts, it’s perfectly fine to step back and admit you aren’t OK. While facing dark days, you have three choices: let them define you, destroy you or strengthen you.

Getting yourself help can be a daunting task, but life is meant to be lived, and the cloud of depression hanging over your head doesn’t have to be there forever.

If you or anyone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Its staff provides free and confidential support for people in distress 24/7.