Where to Get Help for Depression - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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November 12, 2015

Where to Get Help for Depression

One in four college students suffers from some diagnosable form of mental illness, and 44 percent of American college students report feeling symptoms of depression. Unfortunately, stereotypes are some of the largest barriers preventing students from seeking the help they need.

So, what is depression?

Depression is a disorder affecting mood and general outlook on life. It is characterized by a loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed as well as feelings of sadness or diminished hope. It is in our nature to feel ups and downs, but clinical depression is when an individual is not able to overcome a depressive state. People of any age can experience depression, but college students in particular reside in the perfect habitat for depression to thrive.

What are some of the causes of depression?

For college students in particular, lack of sleep, a poor diet, strained relationships and the stress of academia can sometimes act as a perfect storm for depression.

What are the types of depression?

Genetic – Depression may be hereditary. Students with a family history of a depressive disorder are more likely to experience depression at some point in their lives.

Biochemical – Some people have noticeable changes in their brains during a depressive state. Depression starts with the functioning of the brain particularly in the chemical balance of the serotonin, dopamine or norepinephrine neurotransmitters which affect the feelings of happiness and pleasure. It is not understood yet how these neurotransmitters get out of balance.

Hormonal – Changes in hormone levels could also lead to a depressive state. Childbirth, menopause, hyper or hypo-thyroid or other disorders could be the cause of depression.

Seasonal – When wintertime comes, the hours get shorter and the days get darker. People who suffer from seasonal depression mostly feel lethargic, tired and have a loss of interest in regular, daily duties. Seasonal depression is also called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and usually lifts once the days get longer and lighter.

Situational – Trauma, hardships or any drastic changes in life can sometimes trigger situational depression. College, for example, comes with incredible lifestyle changes and added stress that students might not be used to. Other factors could be a new job, financial troubles or losing a loved one. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a form of depression that usually results after a serious situation, such as childhood trauma, abuse or diagnosis of a life-threatening condition.

Where can I go to get help?

The Geneva College Health and Wellness Center, located in McKee Hall, provides free, confidential counseling services for all Geneva students. Counselors are available by appointment Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Other appointment times can be arranged as needed. Appointments can be made online or by calling 724-847-4081.

Counseling is conducted in a manner consistent with the Christian philosophy of Geneva College. Services include assessment, crisis intervention, individual and group counseling, referral and advocacy, and training and consultation with staff and faculty. Counseling services are free for enrolled students, and all services are confidential.

–Celia Harris ’16

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