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College Students and Depression: A Guide for Parents

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College is a very exciting time for young adults looking to take the next step in their lives; it also comes with challenges, and not just as it pertains to academia. Mental health is something that many college students have a difficult time with, especially in the area of depression. Thankfully, as a parent, you don’t have to navigate this alone. At Orlando Treatment Solutions, there are plenty of resources to help for those struggling with mental illness.


Signs that Your College Student May Be Depressed or Anxious

College students can often feel overwhelmed with the balance of school, work, and social life. They may also experience feelings of loneliness or helplessness. However, it could be more than just lonely or sad feelings. It is important to be aware of the signs that your college student may be suffering from depression or anxiety.

Common signs that a college student may be depressed or anxious include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed or helpless
  • Withdrawing from social activities, friends, and family
  • Extreme irritability or mood swings
  • Sleeping too much or not enough
  • Changes in appetite, either overeating or not eating at all
  • Lack of motivation or energy
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Unexplained physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach issues

If you believe that your college student may be suffering from depression or anxiety, talk to them about it and encourage them to seek help. There are many resources available on college campuses that can provide support and guidance such as counselors, support groups, or mental health professionals.

Why is my College Student

Experiencing Depression?

depression symptoms in college students

Depression among college students is a growing issue that cannot be ignored. The causes of depression in this population can vary from person to person, but there are some common factors that may lead to it. Stress from academic responsibilities, financial worries, family issues, and changes in lifestyle are just a few of the most commonly cited causes of depression in college students.

Other factors that can contribute to depression in college students include feeling overwhelmed, constantly comparing yourself to others, and having difficulty adjusting to a new environment. Additionally, feelings of loneliness or isolation from your peers and lack of support from family or friends can also add to the struggle.

Risk Factors of Depression for College Students

College students are particularly at risk of developing depression. They face a variety of stressors, including academic pressure, financial concerns, homesickness, and social anxiety. Other risks for depression among college students include the following:

  • Social Isolation – College can be an isolating experience for some students who may have difficulty making friends or connecting with faculty and advisors.
  • Academic Stress – With high expectations comes a greater chance of academic failure, and this can lead to depression. College students may be overwhelmed by the amount of work they are expected to do, or feel inadequate when compared to their peers.
  • Substance Abuse – The use of alcohol and drugs can also lead to depression as it can interfere with academic performance, relationships, and overall well-being.
  • Financial Stress – College is an expensive endeavor, and the financial strain of tuition payments and other expenses can put a lot of pressure on students.
  • Unhealthy Relationships – Having unhealthy or abusive relationships with a family member, friend, or partner can lead to depression.
  • Lack of Support System – Not having a strong support system of friends and family can cause college students to feel isolated, which can result in depression.

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How Likely is it for College Students to Develop a

Mental Health Disorder?


Research indicates that approximately one in four college students struggle with some kind of mental health disorder at any given point in time. Factors such as academic pressure, social media use, financial worries, and relationship issues can all contribute to the development of a mental health disorder. Additionally, college students may be more likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with their stress, which can further increase the risk for developing a mental health disorder.

It is important for college students to recognize the warning signs of mental health disorders and take steps to address them. This can include seeking out professional help, engaging in activities that promote self-care and relaxation, avoiding excessive drug or alcohol use, and establishing a support system of friends, family members, and/or mental health professionals. Additionally, college students should always be aware of their own mental health and recognize when it needs attention.

What are the Chances that My College Student is Having Suicidal Thoughts?

The chances that a college student is having suicidal thoughts are unfortunately quite high. According to the American College Health Association, one in five college students have considered suicide and nearly 10 percent of all college students have had actual suicidal thoughts. Furthermore, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression among college-age adults has been steadily increasing since 2009. With the pressures of college, such as juggling a full course load, part-time jobs, and social lives all at once, it can become very overwhelming for students.


Tips for Parents With

Depressed College Students

Parents of college students dealing with depression should take an active role in helping their child get the professional help they need. First, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression and understand that your child may not even be aware that they are suffering from this common mental health disorder. Parents should reach out to their college students if they notice any signs of depression and encourage them to seek professional help.

Parents should also make themselves available to their college students, even if it is only over the phone or on video chat. It is important that parents remain patient and understanding while their child works through their depression, as this can be an emotional time for both parties. Parents should also try to educate themselves about mental health resources available to college students, such as therapy and support groups. By doing this, parents can provide their college students with the resources needed to help them manage their depression.

Orlando Treatment Solutions is Here for You and Your Young Adult

depression in young adults

Orlando Treatment Solutions is here to provide support for parents and college students. Mental health disorders are not easy to deal with, especially in a formative time like college. If you or a loved one would like to find out more about what we offer, you can contact us here.



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