How to deal with mental health on campus

It’s OK to not be OK

A study from Penn State for the Center for Collegiate Mental Health found that threat-to-self behaviors are becoming more common in students seeking mental health services. It also explains out of all mental health conditions, depression and anxiety remain the most common. Here's how to deal with mental health on campus.

One in five students will experience mental health issues during college. It's important to be able to recognize the signs and know where to seek help if you need it.

Most students don't realize they are most susceptible to the onset of mental disorders during their college years. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 75 percent of all mental health conditions begin before the age of 24 — meaning a majority of students will begin dealing with mental health issues before graduation.

Depression and anxiety, along with many other mental health conditions, can often go undiagnosed for years. Their symptoms can also be aggravated by the stressful and unstable college lifestyle.

These tips can help all, diagnosed and undiagnosed, through symptoms of mental health conditions.

Use campus resources

Most universities offer mental health centers for their students at little to no cost. Trained professionals are available talk to, even without a diagnosis. If you're not comfortable seeking professional help, there are anonymous chat forums for help with various mental health conditions and will allow you to seek comfort in knowing you're not alone.

Revel in the little things

While depression can't be cured by simply going for a run, trying to approach the day with a positive attitude can help, even marginally.

With the work that comes with a full class schedule, college can be incredibly overwhelming. Mapping out due dates and exams can make it even worse. It's better to work day to day. Be glad you beat the coffee line, or enjoy every tick you cross off your to-do list. It's the little things that make life more manageable and less overwhelming.

Good things happen everyday, and sometimes it amounts to more than the stress of the overall picture.

Know your limits — and when to push yourself

Somedays it will be hard to get out of bed, and that's okay. It is okay for everything to be too much — it is okay to be sad — but also know that it won't be everyday. There are times when you'll feel bad but with a little effort you'll get to class fine. And then there are times where it isn't possible, and that's okay too — normal, even. You know yourself best, so listen to your body. You'll know what days are too much more than anyone else.

Make time to do something you enjoy

We all have that one favorite thing. It could be a show, a craft, an activity, a club, or a song. Make time for it. It will ensure some time to decompress. Go for a run, paint, cook, sing, be yourself, have fun.

Take care of yourself first

School work may seem like your first priority, but it's your second. You are your first priority. Nothing is going to go well if you aren't taken care of. It is incredibly important to eat regularly, drink water, and get enough sleep. Take some personal time each day — it's okay to be selfish sometimes.

Know it's okay to not be okay

Repeat it with me: it is okay to not be okay. It is okay to admit it. It is okay to look for help. It is okay to be who you are.

Michigan State