Depression is Common among College Students

It’s common for college students to feel depressed. Now, when I say depression, I mean anything from just feeling down to feeling so depressed you can’t get out of bed. It’s important to know that feeling sad is a part of life. Feeling significant depression doesn’t have to be, however. Everyone gets down from time to time, but depression is different (Related Article: What Is The Difference Between Sadness And Depression). So, if you are feeling down, know that others feel that way too. They might be able to help you if you reach out.

Depression Versus Sadness

What’s the difference between the two? Well, one of the differences is that sadness can be situational. If you just broke up with your girlfriend, you might feel sad. It might last for a few days or weeks. However, if that sadness turns into depression, you might find it lasting longer and stopping you from functioning in life. Depression seems to be a deeper feeling and can be longer lasting (Related Article: What Is Depression?). It might also show up when there doesn’t seem to be a reason to feel it. Sometimes it’s the weather and time of year that causes you to feel depressed (Related Article: Seasonal Affective Disorder). But, wether it’s the time of year or a situation that has you feeling down, there is help. It doesn’t matter if its sadness or depression they both hurt and are uncomfortable.

Signs of Depression

There are several signs of depression (Related Article: Depression Counseling: Surprising Symptoms You May Miss). First, a lack of interest in things you used to enjoy. Second, anger and irritability. Third, lack of energy. Fourth, impulsive decisions. It’s important to know what to look for in yourself or your partner (Related Article: Supporting Your Partner Through Depression). Adjusting to college life can be difficult and with that comes discomfort. Knowing if its turning into depression can help you reach out when needed.

Get Help For Depression

One of the best things you can do when feeling down or depressed is to get help. Try talking with a partner, parent, sibling, roommate, Church leader or friend. Meeting with a trained counselor for depression has been shown to be effective as well (Related Article: Help With Depression). Whatever you do, don’t keep it to yourself. Reach out to those who love you and can help.

Written by Dr Triston Morgan, PhD, LMFT. Utah Valley Marriage and Family Therapist

Anxiety is Common for College Students

Going to school at a university is stressful. Its hard moving out, entering your 20’s, and trying to be social and date. Add on top of that the stress of college level classes and expectations. It’s no wonder that anxiety is common for college age students. You have probably felt this yourself as you navigate this time of life. Part of the problem, however, is that anxiety is often left un addressed and untreated. Most people who suffer from it try to deal with it on their own. Counseling in Utah can be helpful and effective (Related Article: How Counseling Can Help Your Anxiety). I will outline several tips for dealing with anxiety that I teach my college aged clients here in Utah Valley.

Talk With Others About Your Anxiety

Simply talking with others about your anxiety is a good first step. It won’t solve it, but will certainly let others be there for you. Dealing with anxiety at college on your own is a recipe for more stress. So, let others know about your stress around dating (Related Article: Counseling For Dating Anxiety), classes, being social, your roommate and money. Chances are they are going through it as well. Or, they might have gone through it earlier in their life and might offer good suggestions. The point is, you aren’t alone and others can be there for you. Open up to them.

Do More Of What You Love

Try doing more of what you love in life. Often, when you start college you get bogged down in school. You become unbalanced. So, try doing more of what you like to do – what you used to to for fun. If you are into D&D, don’t give it up. Start a group. If you are into sports, make sure you play on a team or for fun. Even if you are busy with school, you can’t afford to not do things for fun. It makes you a better student.

Try Counseling Or Medications for Anxiety

One of the best things you can do for your anxiety while at college is to get professional help. Try counseling or medications for anxiety. Counselors are trained to help in ways that your friends or family can’t. Often, the best combination of anxiety treatment involves talk therapy and medication (Related Article: If I Take Mental Health Medications, Should I Start Individual Therapy?). In therapy for anxiety you will learn coping skills, ways to recognize anxiety and how to reach out to others. You will improve you emotional capacity to handle the difficult of school and your social life (Related Articles: Emotions 101: How To Be Healthy and 3 Principles of Emotional Health).

My Experience As An Anxiety Counselor In Utah Valley

I have been offering mental health counseling for college students in Utah Valley for 2 decades. I have helped them overcome anxiety (Related Article: Anxiety), depression, poor academic performance, pornography issues and problem with dating/social life. This is one of my specialties as a marriage and family therapist in Utah.

Written by Dr Triston Morgan, PhD, LMFT.

What do you do when your young adult child is struggling in Utah Valley? At this point, parenting is different. You don’t have the same influence over them that you used to. They don’t seem to listen and don’t think you have all the answers anymore. Not like when they were young. It’s difficult to know what to do to help them when they continue to make bad choices. Here are two things to consider that will help you help them (Related Article: How To Help A Struggling College Student With Mental Health).

Mental Health for Young Adults

Your young adult child might be open to talking about their mental health. It might not be now, but they will eventually be open to it if they trust you. So, be trustworthy. Talk with them about all aspects of their life – whats going well, not just whats going poorly. If they think you are just trying to fix them or talk to them about what they need to do better, they won’t trust you. You can talk with them about depression and anxiety when it seems to come up. However, it’s important to also talk with theme about what they enjoy and are having fun with – or want to be doing. Make it a safe relationship with them by being genuinely interested in all aspects of their life.

Be Open About Your Struggles As Well

Be open about your struggles with mental health, relationships or work with your child as well. This normalizes you and models for them how to work through it. Some conventional approaches to parenting tell you to not show any weakness. However, open up! Share with your young adult child that sometimes you don’t want to go to work. Or, that sometimes you feel down. It can be relieving to them that you aren’t perfect. They can start to see you and what you are doing in your life differently. They might be able to connect with you better. This helps create a safe place for them to be imperfect in front of you.

Counseling for Young Adults in Utah Valley

I have been a counselor for young adults in Utah Valley for almost two decades. They need help and need someone that is courageous enough to point them in that direction. My counseling office is in Orem. You can check out my other clinic as well – The Center for Couples and Families.

Written by Dr Triston Morgan, PhD, LMFT

Helping your young adult son or daughter when they are at college or are college aged is difficult. Knowing when to intervene and when to let them try can be difficult. I will outline several key principles to helping them as they grow into adulthood (Related Article: How Do I Help My Child Transition Into Adulthood).

Talk With Them About Anything

First, talk with them about anything they are going through. If you only reach out when you think they are struggling then they might not want to pick up the phone or respond to your texts. So, talk with them about what is going well and what they are interested in. Not just what you think they are struggling with. For example, you might ask them about the game they like to play online, or their friends you know about. You could ask them how going to the basketball game went, even. It’s important to have a relationship with them that doesn’t just revolve around them struggling.

Ask Your College Student About Their Mental Health

Simply ask them about their mental health. They are probably more open to talking about it than you are. Ask them what their experience with depression or anxiety is. Ask them about pornography use or going to class. After you ask, hold emotional space for them to tell you about what they are going through (Related Article: Hold Emotional Space For Your Spouse). Don’t try to ‘fix’ them and tell them what to do. Instead, ask questions that allow them to tell you more. You want to understand, not turn into their boss (Related Article: How To Communicate Effectively: Avoid These Two Marriage Communication Problems).

Get Them Help If They Need It

Offer to your young adult child that you can help them get professional help if needed. Even if they don’t take you up on the offer, let them know that its an option. Again, they are probably more open to talking about mental health issues that young adults from 20-30 years ago. So, don’t be afraid to open up and offer help. A trained counselor can help your young adult with depression, anxiety, addiction, problems with school or being social.

Individual Counseling For A Struggling College Student in Utah Valley

Over the last several decades, I have successfully worked with struggling young adults. I am on many insurance panels and am happy to talk with you about your situation to see if we are a fit.

Written by Dr Triston Morgan, PhD, LMFT

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