Six Tools to Help Fight College Freshman Depression

The U-M Health Blog has published a post about tools for college freshmen to fight depression. Below is an excerpt.

The start of college comes with expectation and excitement, but it also can trigger depression. A Michigan Medicine psychiatrist offers advice to ease the transition.

By Kevin Joy

Making the leap from high school to college is a big deal, no matter how far from home a soon-to-be freshman is headed.

“People really need to know it’s OK to ask for help.”

But the positive (yet often hectic) milestone can shake a student’s well-being, with unintended effects such as depression.

“It’s a huge transition for everyone, whether you have a history of depression or not,” says Dayna LePlatte, M.D., a clinical instructor in psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School. “You’re living on your own, taking on more responsibility and academic demands.

“It can be tough.”

And it marks a key time for signs of trouble to surface: 75 percent of mental health conditions begin before age 24, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Nor is the scenario uncommon. A 2016 UCLA survey found that 12 percent of college freshmen say they are frequently depressed. Likewise, the number of students seeking mental health services rose nearly 30 percent between 2009 and 2014, a Penn State University survey found.

Although some self-help steps can offer an emotional boost — see a list of tips below — a student showing symptoms of depression shouldn’t struggle alone.

Says LePlatte, a former psychiatrist for U-M student-athletes: “People really need to know it’s OK to ask for help.”

She offered advice for freshmen and their families.

Read the rest of the blog post.