College stresses trigger depression

Even in a hall surrounded by 20 other students, it can still be possible to feel lonely.

Depression is common on college campuses. Angela Deulen, director of counseling psychology at California Baptist University, said life transitions, stresses from academics and interpersonal relationships, as well as poor diet and sleep habits, commonly trigger depression in college students.

Deulen said there are two types of depression psychologists recognize: endogenous and exogenous.

Endogenous depression comes from within a person because of biochemistry and neurology, where exogenous depression is from outside circumstances such as academic stress or a divorce.

“Most depression, in my opinion, is really related to relationships, and the stressors in the world,” said Christopher Deulen, licensed clinical psychologist and marriage and family therapy coordinatior at Brandman University.

Christopher said students, especially college freshmen, are often faced with challenging transitions in their college years, which can cause both types of depression.

“The reason we see so much endogenous depression in college students has to do with sleep deprivation, poor diet, poor habits in terms of (for example) video gaming, (and general) self-care,” Deulen said.

While finances, academic rigor and interpersonal relationships may contribute to triggering depression, Deulen said situations do not automatically lead to depression.

“It’s not so much what happens to us, but it’s how we think about what happens,” Angela said.

Sarah Wells, residence director of Simmons Hall, sees the impact of challenging transitions in students’ lives moving from home to campus. She said for some students, this large transition leads to depression.

“I try to show them there is no shame in struggling and let them know that there’s nothing wrong with them,” Wells said.

Wells suggests students who think they may be depressed to not walk alone through the struggle. She recommends talking with a clinician at the on-campus counseling center.

Wells also encourages residents who do not understand depression and come to her disappointed in their own ability to shake off sad or negative emotions.

“I try to remind people that God sees through your depression and into your heart and he loves you,” Wells said. “He loves you where you’re at, and it’s OK that you’re not feeling him right now because you’re not feeling anything, but he’s still there; he’s still present.”

The on-campus counseling center is a free resource to students that offers confidential appointments with therapists as well as an online self-
assessment.

About Hannah Burnett

Lifestyle Editor

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