How to Cope with Depression at University

University education is considered a turning point in one’s life as it prepares the person to undertake a more responsible role in the society. For many, it gives vivid memories and pleasurable experiences, which would last a lifetime. However, not all university students will be able to cope up with the demanding academic responsibilities at the university and some would fall apart even without such excessive academic demands.

What is depression?

Depression is a term used to describe many situations pertaining to a person’s behavior and at times, it can mean a specific illness whereas in other instances it may be used rather loosely. In any event, the term elaborates a profound sadness in the affected individual and in most instances, it would be persisting beyond what is expected for its trigger events.

Why is it important to consider depression among university students?

According to a study done by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the year 2003, among students of Higher Educational Institutes, over 25% have shown to be suffering from mental illnesses at some point in time and among these illnesses, drug and alcohol abuse, depression and eating disorders have made a significant contribution.

When considering the short term and long term impact of these mental health problems, depression is one illness which can be treatable and if not, could aggravate into a major health problem and sometimes even to a state of ‘suicide’.

Thus, it had prompted many universities to undertake counseling for the needy students although the increasing number of university enrolments, rising trend of such illnesses and the difficulty in recognizing such students makes it nearly impossible to provide adequate support to all those who are in need.

What are the causes for depression among university students?

Although there are multitudes of causes leading to depression among university students, parental conflicts, academic difficulties, inability to adjust to college life, poor ability to establish new relationships, financial problems, alcohol and drug abuse as well as unrealistic expectations have been sighted as common causes

What are the symptoms of such manifestations?

Recognizing a depressive student would require vigilance in the part of university administrators as well as from the close associates of such students. Thus, knowing the possible manifestations of depression would be highly useful. Among these manifestations, persistent depressed mood, inability to experience pleasure, lack of sleep or excessive sleep, lack of motivation, suicidal thoughts, lack of energy, crying spells, feeling of guilt and worthlessness, lack of sexual desire…etc are common.

What are the coping strategies for depressed university students?

Tackling depression requires the depressed person to be counseled and provide them with realistic options to cope with the depressive event or the trigger. Many universities provide such counseling advice and among them, following can be highlighted.

-Understanding the commonness and the treatable nature of depression

-Undertake regular exercises or participate in sporting activities

-Establishing awareness regarding harmful long-term effects of alcohol and drug abuse

-Express problems and feelings to someone close rather than keeping it to one’s self

-Make sure a balanced and a healthy diet is eaten regularly

-Make it a point to have enough sleep and rest

-Avoid isolation and try to spend more time with people

-Make use of support sources available within the universities as well as in outside agencies

-Seek psychiatric support at the earliest to counteract such depressive episodes.

If undertaken, above strategies would be rather effective in counteracting depression among university students although many other factors may require modifications to obtain the optimal mental wellbeing.


University of Sunderland – Counseling page – Coping with depression

University of Iowa – Counseling services

Times online – Depression at University