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Depression rates rise on college campus

Help will always be there

The epidemic of students with depression has slowly risen over recent years, and students in Colorado are no exception. With the stresses of classes, jobs, and finding a balance in between all needs, there is little time for recuperation. But no matter how busy life may be, self-care is one of the most important things needed to succeed at the collegiate level.

Photo: Sarai Nissan• The Sentry

The National College Health Assessment II surveyed over 20,000 students at various schools, and one particular portion of the survey dealt with mental health. Only 14.5 percent of students were diagnosed and helped with their depression, but the other stats are staggering. Over 85 percent admitted to feeling overwhelmed, 47 percent felt hopelessness, and 63 percent felt intense sadness.

“Loneliness and isolation can be strongly felt on commuter campuses like ours, where juggling classes plus jobs do not always leave time to connect with peers in classes or join student organizations,” Brittany Bouffard, the outreach coordinator at CU Denver’s counseling center, said. “Making connections by talking with others, forming study pairs or groups, or joining a club can hugely improve your CU Denver experience and potentially your mood.”

This is one reason why being a part of a community is so important. “Leaning into a supportive community to help combat the isolation of depression can be very useful, especially if you let the community know what you’re needing and experiencing,” Bouffard said. But not all of them are perfect. “Communities can of course bring stress as well, with conflicts or not feeling included, so check in with yourself about whether a relationship is supporting you,” Bouffard said.

Like any other illness, depression has warning signs, and it is best to identify them as early as possible. A few of the signals, as stated by The National Alliance on Mental Illness, are extreme difficulty in concentrating, feeling suddenly overwhelmed, not eating, and feeling sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks.

“Depression brings on low motivation and energy, so be proud of your efforts doing projects in small steps—really small steps—then give yourself a reward like getting a hot tea or watching a funny video online,” Bouffard said.

“Try your best to do the things you usually enjoy, even when they aren’t feeling as joyful. We know that doing this is helping our brain chemistry, ultimately reducing depressive symptoms, so know you’re doing something useful.”

Even though depression can seem scary and isolating, there is always help readily available. CU Denver’s counseling center that is located at Tivoli 454 that is open to all students. Never be afraid to reach out and ask for help if things aren’t going quite right.

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