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Back to Campus

Back to Campus 1This year, more than a million students across the United States will start their freshmen year of college. As exciting as a new season of life can be, it can also trigger feelings of stress, anxiety and even more serious mental health conditions.

The New York Times recently ran an article about suicide on college campuses. According to the article, the suicide rate among 15- to 24-year-olds has increased modestly but steadily since 2007: from 9.6 deaths per 100,000 to 11.1, in 2013 (the latest year available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Anxiety and depression are now the most common mental health diagnoses among college students, according to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State.

When it comes to depression and mental health, Dr. Purdy said it’s important for college students to remember they’re not alone, and he stressed the importance of getting help and also being aware of changes in behavior of friends or roommates who may be struggling with a mental health condition.

“Don’t keep it a secret, talk with other people; look into your counseling center’s services. Talking to the people around you can help direct you to the right services, and many times you will find your residential assistant and others have been through some of the same experiences and can give helpful advice,” he said.

Here are other helpful tips for navigating college life:

Get eight hours of sleep: For many college students this can be hard. But regular sleep and routine are key to a balanced academic life.
Eat well: Many college students eat a lot of junk food, it’s important to have a balanced diet and to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and cut out eating late at night.
Make sure you have a social support system: Get involved in clubs, find people that like things you like or those with similar interests in your dorm or classes.
Keep your support system at home: Whether it’s by phone, or visits, don’t lose the ties of people who offer good support and guidance from home.
Keep up with your classes: One of the biggest stressors in college is people getting behind in their classes and feeling like they can’t catch up.

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