Fighting the freshman blues

The first semester of college can be tough. New people, unfamiliar surroundings, living more or less on your own for the first time; it can get a bit overwhelming.

It’s not at all uncommon for college freshmen to experience anxiety and depression. In fact, it’s now more common than ever.

A survey released earlier this year from UCLA reported the lowest level of self-rated emotional health among freshmen in nearly fifty years, as well as a significant increase in the percentage of freshmen reporting feeling frequently depressed.

If you’re dealing with a case of the freshman blues, there are a lot of things you can do and resources available to you at WSU to help you get by.

Limit social media use

A University of Missouri study correlated frequent use of Facebook with feelings of depression and envy, and a similar study in Austria found that browsing Facebook frequently makes you more likely to feel like you’re wasting your life. If you notice social media is making you feel worse, try disconnecting for a couple days.

Have more face-to-face social interaction

Studies have shown that people who experience more social interaction tend to experience less stress. Meet a friend on campus, join a student club or just strike up a conversation with someone nearby. Having someone to talk to in person can be incredibly helpful.

Get the proper amount of sleep

The amount of sleep you get can have a huge impact on your mental health. Not sleeping enough can lead to depression, and depression can cause insomnia – it’s a vicious cycle. Try to manage your time to allow for at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

Don’t be afraid to seek help

When you’re feeling depressed, your instinct might be to shut everyone else out and hole up in your room. If nothing seems to be working for you, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

WSU Counseling Services offers counseling during its listed walk-in hours and also operates 24/7 crisis lines. When you have a problem with your physical health, it’s normal to go see a doctor. That attitude should apply to your mental health as well.

Attend a NAMI on Campus WSU meeting

The National Alliance for Mental Illness is in its first year at WSU and held its first meeting on Nov. 3.

“We’re going to do a lot of programs to try and raise awareness of the propensity for depression among students, especially freshmen,” said James Whitbread, founder and president of NAMI on Campus WSU.

The group plans to meet twice a month in the CUE. More information on NAMI on Campus WSU can be found on the group’s Facebook and OrgSync pages.

Attend a workshop

WSU Health & Wellness Services offers workshops on stress management, emotional health, body image and many other topics. Student can sign up for workshops on OrgSync.

Russell Behrmann is a senior communication major from Bellevue. He can be contacted at 335-2290 or by [email protected] The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of The Office of Student Media.