January 18, 2018

Handling Anxiety & Depression: Two Big Mental Issues Stalking Today’s College Student

Handling Anxiety & Depression - photo copyright Rick Sherrell

It isn’t going so well for college students today. There’s unending streams of work as far as college is concerned. Then there’s the uncertainty that comes with a bleak outlook for future, a raging depression, and the sad state of employability in many western countries including the U.S, U.K and the rest of Europe. The fear looms. The uncertainty would make you cringe in pain.

This isn’t just a random thought. According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, stress is taking its toll on students. Francesco Di Meglio who wrote a feature on BusinessWeek alludes to a study by the American College Counseling Association which reveals that a huge 37.4% of students regular seek counseling to help them with psychological problems. Now, that number is a huge increase from just about 16% in the year 2000.

John McPhee – Executive Director of Jed Foundation – believes that depression and anxiety are the two largest issues facing students today and this leads to some physical problems such as back pain, allergies, and sinuses.

That isn’t looking good. If you are a student, here are some things that can help solve these problems.

College isn’t exactly the end of the world

The stress and anxiety comes from the deeply embedded need for us to achieve and perform. The peer pressure, the social need to stand out, and the persistent scoring system on which your standards are afflicted are all causes for concern. Yet, it’s not exactly as pristine as it’s made out to be.

While we won’t take as much of a polarized thought that colleges are money making scams as Michael Snyder of End of American Dream and author of The Beginning of the End takes.

It’s fact that though that an average American student borrows a lot of dough to get through college and the tuition fees are still soaring as we write. Rising expenses have a way to wreck havoc with our stable minds. Debts are soaring while an average student only spends 30 hours a week on academics. Further, only a little over 50% of students got jobs in 2010.

Snyder opines that college is a huge gamble. So, do you really have to worry so much over something that’s akin to playing dice for a few years at a stretch?

Your worry might not even be justified

Did you know that college isn’t even for everyone? Richard Vedder of Bloomberg wrote a feature where he points out the graduation situation and the general statistics with respect to students and colleges.

He believes that most students fail to graduate. More than 40% of students don’t graduate even after 6 years at college and the dropout rates have been at a historic high. He points that college is training for your career and life. If your worry is about performance, your marks aren’t the benchmark with which you’ll measure your life.

You’ll eventually realize that the scores, GPAs, and marks aren’t really the perfect milestones to determine how you’ll do in life or at career. Sure, you might be smarter, well learned, and much more knowledgeable. Yet, college isn’t the perfect answer for life.

The worry, then, is not entirely warranted.

Taking problems head on

So, what worries you? Is it the state of economy? Is your financial status or lack of funds a perennial botheration? Are you able to focus on college work? How productive, enthusiastic, and ambitious are you?

Your answers to these questions depend on your state of mind. Like all other people in the world, you are completely responsible to the outcomes you see in your life. The primary requisite is to prepare to tackle your problems head on.

Preparing for the long haul ahead also prepares you for life ahead.

Solve what can be solved

You can easily solve problems such as lack of funds to get you through college. All you need to do is get yourself a part-time job. You can even start micro-businesses that don’t require you to cough up cash upfront. Perhaps you can take up freelancing on the side.

Similarly, most other problems will have simple solutions. Find answers to your problems and solve them one after the other. The “feel good” factor that comes from being in control of your situations is enough medicine to cure you, once and for all.

Make some lifestyle changes

Students often suffer from social anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and many other problems that stem from stress and worrying incessantly. Therapists recommend a few simple changes to your lifestyle. For instance, you can start with avoiding caffeine, learn relaxation techniques, dabble with Yoga, self-create anxiety-provoking situations and then begin to handle them by yourself.

You could begin to insert yourself into situations that make you uncomfortable and then take these situations head on. Of course, it won’t be easy but the more you do this, the more comfortable you’ll begin to get.

Get Help

Reach out to your family, friends, and relatives when you need help. You’ll do remarkably well when you have support while you go through the motions of heightened stress levels, depression, and anxiety.

If you seek professional help, get to resident psychiatrist or other professionals in your college campus. You can also reach out to professional bodies such as ULifeLine and seek professional help. Hesitation can be disastrous. Why not solve problems when there’s a way out?

Worry is good. It gets you into a line of thought that helps you to solve problems. Too much of it – like much else – could cause you more problems than were warranted.

We’ve always believed that education is a choice. College is not the only way to learn. It’s not the end of the world. If education is what you need to get better in life, there’s a much easier way to approach it. The rat race doesn’t begin with cubicles and glass-walled buildings. It begins the day you are born.

Your participation in the race is a choice. How are you going to handle stress and anxiety? We’d love to hear from you.

Alpesh Patel is a freelance writer and blogger. He is an expert in online education, online degree courses and the developments taking place in this domain. In his spare time, he likes to read novels and write about distance learning degrees.


  1. It is true that college students go through a great amount of stress. Thanks for giving some possible solutions.

Share your comments with us...