Alongside striving for academic excellence, it is also important to cultivate habits of physical and mental well-being. Ms. Mindy Kissinger, PhD Practicum Student at the Counseling and Testing Center, discussed the symptoms and treatments for anxiety and depression, two common mental illnesses among college students. In addition, she gave tips for reducing stress and how to respond to a friend who is experiencing symptoms of mental illness.
Recognition of Anxiety and Depression
• A change in eating habits
• Inability to engage in regular activities
• Difficulty concentrating
• Relationship distress
• Academic problems
• Body feels tense and exhausted
Anxiety is normal, adaptive, useful—not disrupting to life; how does it interfere with life?
Anxiety and depression are linked
Physical Symptoms of Anxiety and Stress
• Sweating, shaking, nervous tick, GI difficulties, headaches
• Can look fine on the outside—not always visible
• Persons who deal with chronic depression hide it very well
• 3-parts of anxiety and depression: cyclical pattern of thoughts, behaviors, physical symptoms
• Very tough to get out of chronic depression and anxiety
• Target one of the 3 parts to make it better—thoughts-behaviors-physical symptoms
Strategies for dealing with depression and anxiety:
• Journaling (antecedent, behavior, consequence)
• Good, long sleep
• Drinking water
• Eating healthy
• Identifying triggers
• Spending time in nature
• Talk to a friend
• Deep Breathing
• Spending time with friends
• Spending time alone
• Medications/supplements (vitamin D; vitamin B)
• Schedule time to be anxious, sad, etc.
• Helping others
How to respond to friend who shares being depressed?
• Listen, don’t give advice, ask questions; how long; how can I help you?
• Flat out ask, do you feel like harming yourself?
• If they express suicidal thoughts, can then refer them to family, therapist, etc. immediately.
Click here to download a PowerPoint presentation from Ms. Kissenger's talk.
Bell Hall 123