This item originally appeared in the October 21, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.
By BRITTANY WALL
College-age students are the second-most-depressed group out there.
To combat that statistic, counseling services held a Depression Screening Day for all students Oct. 13 in Keeny Hall, Room 310.
Linda Griffin, director of counseling services, said students were given a professional assessment, which lasted about five minutes and covered four areas: depression, mood swings, general anxiety and stress disorder.
“I definitely feel like depression is a big problem on college campuses,” Griffin said. “This age group, which is late adolescent to early adulthood, is the second-highest group that is affected with depression.”
Griffin said after students finished their assessments, a counselor evaluated them. Counselors made suggestions concerning whether they felt students should be referred to a counselor, psychologist or even a medical physician.
“We don’t want students to have to suffer with this alone. We want to help them learn to think differently and behave differently,” Griffin said.
Some students do not even know when they are suffering from depression because they may not realize what the symptoms are, Griffin said.
“I wouldn’t know how to recognize if somebody had depression,” Noelle Ventroy, a sophomore education major, said. “It’s hard to decipher when someone has depression or when they are just sad.”
Griffin said students should look for certain symptoms to determine if they are experiencing depression. If students have a sudden change in personality, withdrawal from friends and family, crying or irritability, loss of interest in activities that were formerly enjoyable, or fatigue, they may need to seek help, she said.
“Students can even sometimes have physical complaints,” Griffin said. “Depression can cause people to be susceptible to colds or other illnesses.”
Griffin said students also have to realize that certain factors in their lives can cause them to develop depression. Medical concerns related to illness, brain chemicals and environmental or circumstantial situations can all be factors of student depression.
Though Griffin did not want to disclose an exact number, she said there were a high percentage of students who presented symptoms of depression who participated in the survey.
“As long as the test is helpful to the students, I think that it’s really a good idea,” Elizabeth Ales, a freshman pre-architecture major, said.
Counseling services will offer screening to any students who are interested in finding out if they are being affected by depression, Griffin said.
“The first step to handling depression is finding out about it,” Griffin said. “Depression is a reflection of an individual’s ability to cope with minor disappointments or problems. As long as people want to get screened or get help, we will be here to help them.”