Michaela and Jenn’s Story: Tips for Managing Depression in College
July 24, 2023
Going off to college can be both challenging and exciting, but it can also be overwhelming, especially if you have depression. Michaela, a student managing depression in college, and her mother, Jenn, found that accessing mental health resources early was crucial for academic and personal success. Michaela and Jenn believe that students and parents can thrive through college and beyond with the right tools and support.
Find Resources for Depression in College
Seeking support can occur before a college student selects the school they want to attend. Michaela recommends seeing what mental health services and accommodations are offered before applying to schools. She also provides suggestions of how to find them.
Take advantage of the mental health resources available on campus, such as counseling services, support groups, and crisis hotlines. Many colleges have wellness centers offering stress reduction, mindfulness, and relaxation resources. Additionally, consider connecting with student organizations related to mental health or advocacy to build a support network of peers who understand what you are going through.
Jenn was terrified to send her daughter to a college 7 hours away from home. She wanted to encourage Michaela’s independence but also wanted to be close by if Michaela needed her support. She had to trust that Michaela would let her know if depression started to interfere with her life.
Jenn encourages parents to keep checking in with their college students without being overbearing. Ask your college student directly, “How can I be helpful?” For Michaela, just having her mom there to listen without giving advice was a big help.
Be Open to Changing Plans with Depression in College
The first school Michaela went to ended up not being the right fit. It was the beginning of COVID-19 restrictions, and Michaela felt very isolated on campus. Her anxiety and depression symptoms heightened, and she found it impossible to make friends and feel connected to her college.
At first, she was hesitant to tell her mom she was having a hard time. But once she opened up, she felt supported in her decision to leave campus and adjust her plan for pursuing higher education. With her mom’s encouragement, Michaela took the time she needed to manage her mental health and find a new school that was a better fit for her needs.
Remember to prioritize your well-being and seek help when you need it. Learn how parents can help college students prepare for mental wellness.