You’re past your angsty adolescent phase, and you’ve got more time on your hands than when you organized your insane high school schedule, but that doesn’t mean that as a college student your life is really any easier or less stressful. You probably fight less with your parents, but other sources of anxiety may surprise you once you head to college. Every campus has its own dynamic and culture, which may not agree with you as well as you’d hoped. You may find it hard to find or keep friends, keep up with competitive classmates and demanding professors, eat right and exercise, sleep well, or even live away from the friends and family you left back home. But whether your challenges on campus result in weight gain and weekly bouts of stress or full-on depression, college students are actually well-connected when it comes to finding mental and emotional health support.
Depending on how serious your condition is or how open you want to be with others about it, you can start by visiting or just calling the counseling centers on campus. Most campuses provide anonymous hotlines to students, as well as face-to-face appointments with counselors. These professionals keep your meetings confidential unless you’re a serious risk to yourself or another person, and they’re willing to talk about anything from dealing with an overwhelming course load to a devastating romantic break-up to eating disorders and chronic mental health issues.
Beyond campus, you can find help and support from websites and social media sites, too. The site ULifeline provides a phone number for a hotline, information about resources at your school or in your city, fact sheets about mental health including alcohol and drugs, depression, suicide, bipolar disorder, and anxiety, polls and testimonials, and plenty of links to other helpful resources. HealthyPlace is another website that offers mental health information and help for the general public, not just college students. If you’re uncomfortable seeking help from someone face-to-face, websites like these can be a good starting point for getting tips on recovering or coping.
Even if you’re a generally happy and healthy college student, remind yourself to take care of yourself every day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site offers this guide for college students on living healthfully and safely, from making a point to make friends and give yourself pep talks to monitoring your eating habits and nutrition intake to taking action to reduce stress and take care of depression.