Faculty Spotlight: Depression and Students

What is depression?

Depression is a common mental health problem that will affect 44% of college students. It varies in depression and duration. Depression can be a temporary reaction to stress, loss, or life challenges. Severe or chronic depression usually requires professional help.

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Faculty and staff are in a unique position to possibly see changes in students’ mood or behavior that may indicate depression. Here are something things to look for:

  • Emotionally, the student may seem:
    • Increasingly sad, blue, or down
    • Irritable
    • Hopeless or helpless
    • Excessively guilty
  • Behaviors:
    • Diminished interest in daily activities
    • Seeming more fatigued or less having less energy
    • Expressing major changes in sleep or appetite
    • Social isolation or withdrawal
    • Decreased motivation
    • Difficulty completing assignments and concentrating in class
    • Expressing thoughts of death or suicide

Students may also attempt to reach out and seek help. It is important to be supportive and validate the student’s feelings and experiences. If you have a concern about the student, you can use the Student Support Form to alert the intervention team that the student may need help. Research shows that depression is responsive to both psychotherapy and medication, so getting a student help as soon as possible is important.

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