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Mental Health Awareness
With the world today, students have been through so much while they strive for their education. American National University’s students have a lot on their plates—from navigating this ever-changing world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, taking care of their family, working, obligations, and more—all while going to school to earn their education and develop as working professionals. With so much going on for one student, mental health can fall to the back burner. Depression, anxiety, and even suicide is on the rise with college students during this time, it is important to recognize the signs to get proper care.
College is a huge life transition no matter what phase in life you are—adjusting to studying, learning, and writing can be a big change for anyone. Even if you attend school straight from high school, the difference in education is stark. And for many of American National University’s students, they are going to school while working and taking care of their families. The amount of responsibilities ANU’s students have on their plates can lead to waning mental health. We want to help you recognize the signs and possible symptoms so that you can see it in yourself or your friends and family and get the help that you may need in order to conquer it.
The added stress that school can put on a person in any position can lead to dealing with depression. Depression is, as described by the American Psychiatric Association: “Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed.”
What are the signs/symptoms you should look for?
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), there are signs you should watch for:
- Changes in sleep habits and/or appetite
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and/or powerlessness
- Withdrawing from others and isolating oneself
- Increased pessimism
- Trouble concentrating or paying attention
- Difficulty comprehending and completing tasks in school or at work
Depression can be a contributing factor to suicidal ideation. If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, you can call or text the suicide hotline at 988 and speak with trained professionals who can help you. Suicide and depression are treatable. Other resources for suicide are:
- Active Minds
- The Trevor Project
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
As mentioned previously, college is a huge life transition that can come with many challenges. Anxiety is also something to look for while making this transition. It is, as described by the American Psychiatric Association: “anxiety disorders differ from normal feelings of nervousness or anxiousness and involve excessive fear or anxiety. Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives. But anxiety disorders are treatable and a number of effective treatments are available.”
What are the signs/symptoms you should look for?
- Feelings of stress, restlessness, apprehension, or fearfulness
- Trouble concentrating
- Excessive sweating and dizziness
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle pain and tension
- Frequent upset stomach or diarrhea
What Can I Do to Get Help?
Mental health and mental illness are treatable, and there are many things you can do to alleviate it and help your day-to-day life, such as:
- Speak to your primary care doctor about what options you have when it comes to medical treatment—they would be the first source for you to be referred to a professional who can help you treat your depression.
- Reach out to your loved ones for help. You shouldn’t go through it alone, and the ones who care for you will want to help you through this as well. They could assist you in finding medical support.
- Speak to your instructors and professors about what you’re going through. Keeping your instructors updated on what’s going on can be an immeasurable help as they help you get through your classes and assignments.
- There are also online resources. For example, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America has a tool called “Find a Therapist” that can assist you in finding mental health professionals in your area.
Additional Resources for Mental Health
- American College Health Association
- The National Institute of Mental Health
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Mental health and mental illness are important to learn and recognize when students go through such big changes as they earn their education. American National University’s students go through many changes during the course of their education—from nurturing their families to working full-time. With all of these overwhelming events, it’s understandable that sometimes our students go through depression and anxiety—thankfully, they are treatable, and many people overcome them and live successfully. Live a successful life while attending American National University—with our 100% online courses that adapt to your life, you can have the flexibility you need to deal with any situation that arises in your life. Learn more at an.edu.
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