By Maria Forget, Social Work Student
I see that you’re struggling. I want to help you. I want you to know that the stress, anxiety, and sadness you are experiencing is not permanent. You are not alone. You do in fact, carry with you the power to overcome this. I know that it’s difficult to balance everything you have going on right now, but just know, you are doing an amazing job.
What lies within you is strength, resilience, and the ability to overcome any obstacle that is headed your way. You are strong, and capable. Whenever I meet you, I see an immense amount of potential. There is no doubt you are advancing towards personal growth. Be proud of yourself. You made it this far already. Congratulate yourself, celebrate your successes. You deserve it.
Depression amongst students, particularly for those students in post-secondary education, is prominent and serious, and should never be overlooked. There are many changes that can occur once students start post-secondary education and many different factors can affect them. Students will react to the stressors faced when they get to college or university in different ways. Every individual therefore develops their own coping mechanisms, and sometimes those are unhealthy. But who can blame them?
Listed below are just a few examples of the immense number of stressors and struggles that students face:
Many do not realize how serious having post-secondary depression can get. Statistics Canada reports suicide as the 9th leading cause of death in Canada, but in the 16-24 age group, 20 per cent of deaths are attributed to suicide. Yet, society still holds a certain stigma when it comes to seeking help in regards to mental health. Some may believe that seeking counselling means the individual is weak or defeated. As a society, we need to view mental health through a lens that is on par with physical health as both are equally as important. We need to start treating mental health as a priority.
Students experiencing depression while in school should be aware of the signs. Some signs include:
If you are experiencing depression while in school, know that you’re not alone. There are many individuals that are going through similar setbacks. It is normal to have some of these reactions to the hardships you are facing. There are steps students who do experience depression while in school can take to feel better, and one of the most important is taking care of yourself first. Try to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle. When you are tired, sleep. When you are hungry, eat something nourishing. When you feel overly fatigued all the time, get a few minutes of sunlight by going on a quick walk.
The fact is that the amount of work required to get through post-secondary education while also maintaining employment is nothing short of ridiculous. And unfortunately, things don’t seem to be getting any better. So, while it is hard to balance everything as your workload may seem to be endless and overwhelming, try your best to take on school work that you can manage by organizing and planning.
Lastly, know that I believe in you, and you will get through this. If you are contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Health Helpline: 1-800-273-8255. If you are from Thunder Bay, Ontario, please call the local crisis response number: (807) 346-8282.
Students are not fragile flowers – we must care about their mental health. (2017, October 05). Retrieved March 19, 2018, from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/students-are-not-fragile-flowers-we-must-care-about-their-mental-health/article36498798/
College depression: What parents need to know. (2016, September 02). Retrieved March 19, 2018, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/tween-and-teen-health/in-depth/college-depression/art-20048327
Pukas, K. (2018, March 01). Retrieved March 19, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VR1KzaRAcmA
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