By Katie Stewart
Most college students share stressful experiences such as classes at odd hours, extensive homework and long hours at a job. Some also face mental health issues.
Anyone, including college students, can be affected by mental illness.
You can seem totally fine one minute, then suddenly feel everyday life squeezing the oxygen out of you.
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates 26.2 percent of U.S. residents ages 18 and older suffer from mental issues such as bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.
The constant pressures of school can spawn depression in college students, according to NIMH.
About 30 percent of college students reported feeling “so depressed that it was difficult to function” at some time in the past year, according to an American College Health Association–National College Health Assessment.
More than 6 percent of college students consider suicide and about 1 percent attempt suicide, the ACHA-NCHA said.
Family members who don’t have the disease really don’t understand what people are going through. They sometimes think students are just looking for attention, being dramatic or are too high-strung.
Depressed or anxious students who don’t understand themselves can feel out of place and constantly hope the world won’t come crashing down. They never really live life to the fullest.
When an illness is at its worst and pressure is at its peak, irrational thinking can make actions result in bad consequences.
“Many people with anxiety have severe problems with anxious and irrational thinking,” according to literature from the Calm Clinic.
“They know their thoughts are irrational, and yet struggle to convince themselves of the more logical and reasoned response.”
Anyone dealing with mental health issues needs coping methods to make it through the hard times.
Some patients use prescription medication such as Prozac, Zoloft and Xanax.
Those who don’t seek professional help may rely on recreational drugs and alcohol, self-mutilation or even suicide to rid themselves of the constant pain.
Others deal with their illness through natural methods such as meditation and exercise.
Successful coping methods teach people to recognize their early symptoms and find healthy ways to achieve a more peaceful mindset.
Experts suggest that people with mental illness engage in their treatment by knowing what they have and asking the questions they need answered.
Other tips: Find support from loved ones who understand, avoid alcohol and substances that could make the illness worse, and stay rested.
People dealing with stress may push their mind and body to a breaking point.
It is better to ease up on the work and school load. Take a break, take a breath.
Many resist asking for help because they don’t want to be seen as weak. But sometimes, asking for help is the only way to get help.
Finding successful coping methods can help people manage their disease and may change the stigma of mental illness.
If you or anyone you may know is dealing with mental illness or high stress, call or email the National Institute of Health at (301) 443-4536 or email NIMHpress@mail.nih.gov.
Helpful websites, books and movies about mental illness include:
• National Institutes of Health: nimh.nih.gov
• National Alliance on Mental Illness: nami.org
• “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath
• “Prozac Nation” by Elizabeth Wurtzel
• “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012)
• “Girl, Interrupted” (1999)