College Students and Depression

College years can be such an exciting time in young people’s lives. It’s a period of new acquaintances, friendships, academic discoveries, and independence. Yet, for many students, these years also happen to be a period of depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, these days, almost 50% of college students claim to have depressive episodes, depression, or anxiety. Such conditions can lead to happy college years and good academic performance. 

In addition, these mental health disorders require professional treatment such as therapy or/and medication. Also, in many cases, those health issues remain undiagnosed. So, young people are not aware of living with depression even when it severely affects their lives. This is why it is crucial to learn more about depression, its symptoms, and its causes. By knowing where to look, you can get help or help others as early as possible. Here’s what you need to know. 

Symptoms of depression 

First of all, let’s start with the symptoms of depression. Often, people confuse depression with constant feelings of sadness. Yet, it is usually not the case. For the most part, this mental condition can have different effects on one’s mental health and life. So, here’s what people often feel:

  • Apathy (loss of interest);
  • fatigue;
  • lack of energy;
  • sleepiness;
  • emotional instability (mood swings);
  • tearfulness;
  • anger;
  • panic;
  • low self-esteem;

In addition to those feelings, one may also feel constantly overwhelmed even by the usual routine and activities. Also, young people may experience a change in eating habits, such as insomnia or oversleeping, and increased or decreased appetite. 

Some people may also experience intrusive thoughts of self-harming or suicide, feeling undeserving and low. All of these sensations are provoked by the disorder. Yet, during the peak of depression, one has a hard time differentiating their thoughts from depression. 

The causes

So why do young people have depression in the first place? What is it, and where does it come from? Overall, depression can have many roots and causes. Some of them are more or less explainable and easy to determine, such as genetics, trauma, stress, etc. However, in most cases, it is hard to pinpoint the cause that could have started depression, especially in young people. Still, students have several common reasons for developing depression. 

Adult life 

For one, most young people struggle with being independent for the first time in their lives. Despite wanting to be separated and live on their own, many students don’t understand the full consequences of such a lifestyle change. Now, they have to deal with numerous issues and responsibilities on their own, whether it is laundry, cooking, banking, or else. Such pressure and novelty of the situation can be one of the causes of depression.


Next, most students suffer from sleep deprivation. That, combined with poor diet and lack of exercise, can lead to mood swings, tiredness, and increased stress levels that provoke depressive episodes. 


Navigating relationships and figuring out who they are while in college can also add stress to their lives. Thus, breakups or identity crises can often be identified as the beginning point of depression.


Finally, there is an issue of academic overload and school pressure. Dealing with life situations while also having an overwhelming amount of homework can cause a lot of stress. On average, young people are not great with self-care routines or setting reasonable boundaries between personal and professional life. Thus, the absence of a healthy routine and pressure to succeed in college can lead to depression. Fortunately, all students can access a free essay database at Thus, they can decrease academic tension and deal with personal issues instead of getting buried under paper assignments. 

Overall, students live in an environment that can easily provoke the development of depression. Thus, the causes can be simple explanatory factors, yet, they may not be the main reason for getting depressed. 

Tips on preventing depression in college students 

Although college can be a rather stressful period in students’ lives, they can still avoid getting depressed. Thus, young people should be careful about their mental health, observe their eating and sleeping habits, be mindful about overworking and track their moods. Here are a few strategies that can keep me from depression in college.

Have a self-care day

Make a habit of organizing a self-care day once in a while. It can be once a week/month or whenever you feel like you need one. Such a day should help you relax and distract you from your studies. Do things that you love. Don’t overthink it. A day of good, mindful rest will keep depression and burnout away. 

Get help 

Don’t feel bad about needing or wanting help. Students don’t have to deal with everything on their own. You can easily find any kind of help online at places like and similar. You may also talk to your professors for some assistance or organize a study group. 

Stay social 

Being socially active is an important step in preventing depression. You don’t necessarily have to attend all the parties or go out that often. Still, spending some time in the company of your close friends will help you stay more positive about your life. Loneliness is the perfect soil for depression, so try to avoid that. 

Develop coping mechanisms for stress

College can get very stressful sometimes. You better be ready for it. Consider practicing some coping mechanisms that will help you fight stress once it only appears. Yoga, meditation, breathing techniques, and hobbies, among others, can work wonders to keep you calm and happy during turbulent times. 

How to help students who battle depression 

The best thing you can do for yourself or others when suspecting depression is to get professional help. Such a measure should be your first step in dealing with such a serious mental health disorder. Once diagnosed, you can follow your doctor’s recommendations and treatment for depression, regulate your sleep routine, improve your diet, and reduce stress factors. Dealing with depression can be hard. Yet, you don’t have to do it alone. A professional can get you through this.