Being a college student isn’t easy. It’s challenging to leave home, manage a full-time course load, and establish a completely new network of support. Those challenges can often lead to experiences of anxiety, sadness, and loneliness. Those feelings and experiences are a normal part of adjusting to a new environment. Contrary to what we may think, very few people come to college (or through any major life adjustment) with only positive experiences and feelings.
Learning to cope with and come through hard emotional experiences is part of developing your “adulting” credentials. However, those hard emotions and experiences can also become persistent and debilitating. And sadly, the data shows that mental health in college students is on a downward trend. A 2022 study from Boston University delivered a stark reality: an analysis of eight years of data revealed increases in the rate of depression, anxiety, and the number of students who met the criteria for mental health problems.
At Candid, your wellbeing is our mission — and with a number of important mental health days in October, we didn’t want to miss a crucial opportunity to talk about and advocate for student wellness.
October and Mental Health Awareness
October is full of national and global days of recognition: there’s National Chess Day, National Noodle Day, and the fan favorite National Taco Day. But for us, there’s nothing like shining a spotlight on mental health. We all have ups and downs, challenges and successes. Being honest about the mental and emotional challenges that people live with is part of helping people address and experience mental health.
World Mental Health Day
Observed annually across the globe on October 10th, World Mental Health Day was first established by the World Federation of Mental Health (WFMH) in the early 1990s with an objective to advocate for mental health.
Every year, WFMH announces a new theme that reflects the current conversation around mental health. This year’s theme? Make Mental Health & Well-Being for All a Global Priority. Taking stock after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, WFMH realized that no country was truly equipped to handle the mental health fallout of long-term isolation. What would it look like if we all made mental health a priority for ourselves, our friends and family, our co-workers and our communities? For one thing, no one would feel like they had to hide their mental health challenges!
National Depression Screening Day
One of the most valuable tools when it comes to mental health is proper screening. National Depression Screen Day was established in 1991 — and there’s been a lot of progress since then! Getting screened for depression is now considered an integral part of primary care for all adults in the U.S.
Signs of Depression
How can you recognize depression? See if you or someone you know feel several of these symptoms, and they persist longer than a few days :
- Feeling hopeless
- Loss of interest
- Sleep problems
- Feelings of guilt
- Suicidal thoughts
If you, or someone you love, are experiencing symptoms of depression, you can speak to a number of health professionals, including speaking to a therapist, psychologist or your primary care doctor. If you aren’t sure how to talk about what’s happening, you can read through these tips from the National Institute of Mental Health for speaking with your health care provider.
How to Get Screened
During college, you may not have access to your usual primary care provider. Mental Health America provides free and confidential online screening, as well as resources (including treatment and support in your area) to help you on your journey.
Mental Health Resources on Campus
The University of Wisconsin Madison has been working to enhance the mental health support through UHS. Despite the rumors that you have to wait forever or you can’t get help on campus, UHS can be a great place to start when seeking resources for your mental health.
University Health Services
The University of Wisconsin-Madison provides no-cost mental health services (including counseling, outreach programming, stress management, 24/7 crisis services, and psychiatry services for medication management) and a list of resources for anyone in a mental health crisis.
Mental Health Services offers groups/workshops every semester on a variety of topics, from anxiety and substance use, to LGBTQ and Eating Support. They also offer Let’s Talk, which is a a way to rapidly access talking with a therapist informally, either in person or over zoom. And if you need to find a provider off campus through insurance, they can help you do that too.
Everything at UHS is confidential. Financial Aid, your advisor, the Department Chair, even your parents, do not have access to information about your visits. Period. (The only exception is if there’s an immediate safety concern and even then, it’s just to get you help.)
Call 608-265-5600 +1 for medical, +2 for mental health, or +9 for 24 hour support.
Do you enjoy the support of regular, in-person events? UW offers a number of mental health events and wellness events on the calendar every month.
We care about your wellness.
At Candid, we’re here to lend support — and your mental health is a great place to start on your wellness journey. Through health and life coaching, connection with other students, and incentives to keep you going, Candid is a safe and inclusive space for all UW students. Reach out at any time.
Written by Abby Parr
Content Specialist, The Digital Ring