Depression on rise for college students, research suggests

Josh Skaggs Staff Writer

According to researchers at Northwestern University, between one-fifth and one-quarter of college students suffer from some sort of depression. The study also found that two percent of these students have suicidal thoughts. The researchers also found that depression screening can save the lives of many college students.

Lynne Martin a licensed professional counselor at UNA’s Health and Wellness Center says that depression usually comes in episodes. She said that there are many symptoms of depression including irritability, memory loss, social issues, sleep deprivation, appetite loss, suicidal thoughts and declining academic performance.

“Depression runs in my family,” Laken Stepp, a UNA psychology major, said. Stepp suffered from depression for a period of about a year.

“I noticed something was wrong when I slept all the time and I didn’t go to school or do anything,” Stepp said. She said her friends started to notice that she was always tired and slept most of the day.

“Depression is something you don’t mess with, it’s very serious,” Stepp said. “I think people who are depressed should talk to someone about what is going on.”

Stepp attributes her beating depression to church. “Church helped me motivate myself to do what I knew was right,” she said. “Church gave me a sense of security-that everything was going to be alright.”

Stepp warns students to not hold it in because it makes it worse.

Martin said the number one thing the center sees is depression cases and the number of students coming in with depression is rising. The counselors at UNA provide depression screening for students who think they may be depressed.

“The biggest problem with depression is people wait too late,” Martin said.

“Brains get sick too,” Martin said. “The brain is an organ and it gets sick just like any other organ.”

Martin suggests that students who may be suffering from depression talk to a trusted friend or professional and be honest. She also suggests students suffering from depression should reach out to someone and seek help.

“We want to help,” Martin said. She would like for students to know the counselors at UNA are professional and ready to help students with any problems they may have.

“Why not be sure, come in and let us help you deal with what’s going on,” Martin said.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Martin and her professional staff at Bennett Infirmary at 256-765-4328.