According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. The cause of depression is unknown, but theories point to a mix of genetics, environmental stressors, and life circumstances. Symptoms of depression vary from individual to individual, but common signs include feelings of sadness and/or irritability, isolating oneself, not enjoying things that used to be enjoyable, feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, sleep disruptions, unintentional weight changes, and suicidal thoughts or feelings.
Some of these symptoms are also common in first-year college students transitioning to college (i.e. homesickness). Loneliness can be mistaken for depression, or it could be one symptom of depression. This article has observations how to interact with your student about loneliness. But when might loneliness or sadness be a sign of depression? Read on!
When someone does not feel better, or feels worse after one or two weeks, and the symptoms are significantly interfering with their daily life, that person may be depressed. A qualified mental health professional should make the determination whether someone is depressed. If there is any question whether depression is present, it is important to seek professional assistance. If you are concerned about your student, the best thing you can do is connect them to available resources.
Resources for Miami students include:
- The Student Counseling Service (513-529-4634) offers a full staff of counselors and online self-assessment resources to help determine the need to to seek professonal treatment.
- The HOPE Line is a 24/7 resource for students to call for immediate support, crisis intervention, and stabilization from a licensed mental health counselor.
- Campus Care is an option for students who want to consult with a trained mental health professional in a less formal and more convenient setting than a counseling appointment.
- The Psychology Clinic (513-529-2423), which is the training clinic for doctoral students in the Clinical Psychology program. Students conduct psychotherapy and psychological assessment under the supervision of licensed clinical psychologists.
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 800-273-8255
- The National Crisis Text Line with 24/7 confidential help. Text CONNECT to 741741.
A list of community resources is also available on the Student Counseling Service website. Follow the Student Counseling Service on Twitter and Instagram (@MiamiOHSCS) and on Facebook for more information about depression, coping, and suicide prevention.