Adulthood often begins with a series of transitions. These may include heading off to college, entering the workforce, marriage, children, divorce, job changes, or a job loss. Each of these transitions can bring added stressors and uncertainty. In addition to dealing with such life changing events, mental illnesses often strike during the prime of an individual’s life such as during the late teen years or when an individual is in their early twenties.
The following resources may help:
Active Minds: A Lifeline for College Students
Active Minds is working to utilize the student voice to change the conversation about mental health on college campuses. By developing and supporting chapters of a student-run mental health awareness, education, and advocacy group on campuses, the organization works to increase students’ awareness of mental health issues, provide information and resources regarding mental health and mental illness, encourage students to seek help as soon as it is needed, and serve as liaison between students and the mental health community.
Through campus-wide events and national programs, Active Minds aims to remove the stigma that surrounds mental health issues, and create a comfortable environment for an open conversation about mental health issues on campuses throughout North America.
For more information please visit www.activeminds.org.
‘Get Connected’ on Campus: Tips from Mental Health America
Starting college can be both exciting and stressful. You’re juggling classes, living on your own for the first time and figuring out what you want out of life. It’s no surprise that many freshmen feel overwhelmed. One way to fight stress and feel at home in your new surroundings is to connect to other students and the larger campus community. To help, Mental Health America has put together a fact-sheet outlining the benefits of getting active, and staying active in your college communities.
Here are some suggestions for incoming students:
- Connect to your roommate, dorm mates, and Resident Advisor. Make an effort to get to know the person you’re living with. Go to meals, get a cup of coffee, or explore campus together. Also, take time to get to know the people living on your floor. Say ‘hi’ when you pass each other in the hall or stop by their rooms. Resident Advisors are trained to know what’s happening on campus. They also plan dorm floor events and outings.
- Stay connected to family and friends at home. Leaving your friends and family is a big change. Staying in touch can help you feel close and supported. Instant messaging, texting, email, and social networking sites are great ways to stay connected but be careful what you post online!
- Connect to the larger campus community. You may want to think about participating in sorority or fraternity recruitment. If that isn’t your thing, there are other student clubs on campus that focus on everything from social justice issues to rock-climbing. Don’t see a club you like? Start one.
- Connect to your professors and academic advisors. Your professors and academic advisors are there to help you get through tough classes, tough decisions, and tough times. They can help you figure out what you want out of your academic experience. If you feel like you might have a rough time in class, make an appointment with your professor during office hours.
- Connect to help. Your health and well-being can affect your freshman year experience; how much you enjoy being there, how well you do in class, and how you feel about yourself. Make your health and well-being a priority from the start. Check out the health and wellness center on your campus to learn more about the services they provide.
Sometimes stress is unavoidable. Mental Health America urges students to take time out of their busy new lifestyles and consider these symptoms:
- Feeling angry, irritable or easily frustrated
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Change in eating habits
- Problems concentrating
- Feeling nervous or anxious
- Trouble sleeping
- Problems with memory
- Feeling burned out from work
- Feeling that you can’t overcome difficulties in your life
- Having trouble functioning in classes or at your job
If these symptoms persist, they can’t go unchecked. Extended feelings of hopelessness and an inability to cope could indicate a more serious condition like depression or anxiety. For more information, visit the Mental Health America website at www.mentalhealthamerica.net.