Nov 022011
 
Authors: Bailey Constas

With the stresses of school, work and personal commitments, college life can sometimes become overwhelming.

“I’m working 20 hours this week, which puts a cramp on my sleep time,” said Connor Rock, a freshman marketing major. “It definitely adds to my stress level, because both work and school seep into my personal life.”

According to a poll conducted by psychcentral.com, an estimated 44 percent of American college students have reported symptoms of depression.

That means that out of the 30,000 students at CSU, roughly 13,200 students could be feeling these symptoms.

“Stress is associated with a lot of physiological outcomes,” said Jennifer J. Harman, an assistant professor in the applied social psychology department at CSU. “It can make people be ill or it can lead to people spending a lot of time worrying about performance, [which] can interfere with actual performance in school and lead to other negative mental outcomes likes depression or anxiety.”

Another statistic, also from psychcentral.com, says more than two-thirds of young people do not talk about or seek help for mental health problems.

“Sometimes people start forgetting important things, feeling overwhelmed and then when it starts interfering with sleeping patterns, there might be a sign that there is more going on to manage there,” Harman said.

According to Harman, knowing how to differentiate normal stresses from when it’s time to get help is often a hard line to draw.

“It’s always a judgement call, even for a professional,” said Jerry L. Deffenbacher, a professor in the counseling psychology department. “It’s also a judgment call for the person.”

“Are they feeling really miserable and is it prolonged? If you’re sad one afternoon, it’s a bummer.

But for days and weeks, it’s something else,” Deffenbacher said. “Is it interfering with life? Is it leading you to avoiding friends, getting work done, getting to a job?”

In a 2010 Health District Survey of Larimer County it was reported that while 75.5 percent of those surveyed did not need mental health services, 17.1 percent needed and used it and 7.5 percent needed help but did not seek any.

Counseling services on campus are available for students who are taking at least six credits and are paying the university health and counseling fee. All students receive five free counseling sessions a semester.

Stress, feelings of hopelessness, difficult situations, lack of self-worth or anxious feelings are all reasons to seek help, according to the counseling services web page.

Watch out for the signs to keep you and your mind at peace.

“The longer the more severe [sadness and stress] lasts, the more likely it will be a problem,” Deffenbacher said.

Collegian writer Bailey Constas can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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