Sep 212011
Authors: Collette DeWitt

As students start to make their way through the semester, school begins to stack up with quizzes, tests and homework, leading to an increase in stress levels and possibility for depression.

According to the NASPA Mental Health Survey administered at CSU in April 2010, 28.3 percent of the students surveyed felt tense, 34.8 reported feeling overwhelmed and 8.3 said they were frequently depressed.

“Like the CSU Health Network, campus mental health and medical services across the nation are seeing an increase in students requesting mental health services,” said Christina Berg, the director of Hartshorn Health Services.

Berg also added that it’s important for students to be aware of their resources. All students registered for six or more credit hours are eligible to use the health network and its services.

“Colorado State University is very interested in improving and supporting the mental health and quality of life of CSU students,” Berg said. “We are aware of the growing mental health trends and want to be supportive and proactive.”

In an effort to increase CSU’s mental health resources, the Health Network recently hired a coordinator of mental health initiatives who is in charge promoting positive mental health attributes and skills as well as stress reduction, coping skills, early identification of depression and other issues like suicide prevention.

“School can really affect my depression because depression is already stressful and hard to get over, but when you add stress from homework and tests, the buildup makes it hard,” said junior business major Ashley Brainerd. “It feels like there is just too much on your mind, and it’s hard to handle some days.”

“It seems like so many people I talk to are taking something for depression or stress or they have had doctors tell them they need to take something to help,” Brainerd added. “The work load from class can be way too much and how much one test or paper can affect your grade is daunting.”

Junior biology major Jennifer Mack said this is the most stressful semester she’s experienced in college so far.

“Many of my classes are pretty difficult and require a lot of my time. After juggling school and work all day, I am so tired when I get home,” Mack said. “If you don’t have a good friend or person to talk to when you are feeling that way, talking to a counselor would probably be pretty beneficial. They also could suggest some ways to cope with depression or stress.”

For students feeling stressed there are tips for handling stress and maintaining a healthy mental state.

Some of these, from the CSU Health Network, include taking relaxing breaths and stretching.

“Staying healthy can sometimes be challenging for busy college students. It is known that stress is the number one health factor impacting academic success,” Berg said. “Knowing stress will likely be something you as a college student may deal with, you can be proactive.”

Collegian writer Collette DeWitt can be reached at

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