With the start of a new semester comes new challenges. As students prepare for the next round of exams and papers, health professionals encourage them to ask for help when stress becomes overwhelming because stress can lead to depression if not treated.
University of Nebraska at Omaha Health Services Director Marcia Adler said some people cannot handle a high stress level and may get upset with their studies.
Students often worry about failing a class or paying back hefty student loans. Juggling multiple responsibilities such as work, family and school can add to their stress level as well.
Adler said stress and depression take many forms. Some people might experience headaches or other physical pain and not realize stress and depression might be underlying factors for the pain they’re experiencing.
“Depression is a whole combination [of things]. It impacts the whole body,” Adler said. “Gradually, it makes people have no idea what’s going on.”
A recent Healthline.com study found that one in four college students suffers from depression, and oftentimes, don’t seek help, which is a fact Adler echoed.
“People want to hide depression,” Adler said.
In fact, in a recent polling of about a dozen students at UNO’s Criss Library, few students wanted to discuss depression. However, when discussing stress factors, more were willing to talk about the subject but not share their names, only their majors, while discussing the topic.
A UNO sophomore majoring in architectural engineering explained how she tries to manage the stress in her life.
“When big tests are coming, I feel really nervous,” she said, “but I will make sure I prepare well so I can pass the tests.”
Another student, a junior majoring in athletic training, candidly talked about his school stress.
“I have stress all the time,” he said, “school is so stressful. But I’ll try my best to overcome it. For example, I hang out with my friends or play hockey. They help me a lot and make me feel better.”
Adler explained why people shy away from talking about depression.
“U.S. people who have depression don’t want to say they have depression. They think it is a stigma; people want to hide it,” Adler said. “They are ashamed they need help, but depression is treatable. You have to follow outside helpers or allow yourself to have help.”
Nate Bock, a counselor at UNO’s health center, weighed in on the topic and suggested a few ways to alleviate depression. He also emphasized the importance of a treatment plan tailored to fit each individual.
“Maybe we can prevent depression, but it’s not the same for everyone,” Bock said. “We can make many attempts to keep ourselves emotionally healthy, but this exists on a scale and gets influenced by our daily activities.”
Bock said maintaining mental health may be more of a struggle for some people.
“For most [people] we can lower it [depression], but it’s hard to prevent ourselves from never feeling down,” Bock said. “The key is making efforts to keep it from getting to the point of negatively affecting our daily functioning.”
So where can UNO students turn to for help? Here are some resources…
UNO has two student organizations: Active Minds and NAMI (National Alliance Mental Illness) that can be found on MavSYNC.
UNO Counseling Services – located in HPER 102. Telephone: 402-554-2409. Website: unomaha.edu/student-life/wellness/counseling-center/
UNO Health Services – located in HPER 102 Telephone: 402-554-2374. Website: unomaha.edu/student-life/wellness/health-services/
Boys Town Hotline: Telephone: 1-800-448-3000 Website: boystown.org/hotline/Pages/default.aspx
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) – located at 331 S. 85th Avenue Telephone: 402-502-4673.