How To Support Students Through The Transition Into College
Without the proper support system, college can take a toll on the mental health of young adults.
It’s that time of year again. Many college students are preparing for the upcoming semester and are planning for the year to come. I recall my experience of going to college for the first time. I was excited about the prospect of independence and the challenges it held.
This all changed in my second semester. I succumbed to stress by self-medicating with drugs and alcohol and ended up suffering a major psychotic episode that found me catatonic after a failed suicide attempt.
Suicide is the third cause of death for college students. This is an alarming statistic. There are many reasons for these tragedies however depression is one of the leading causes. The fact is some, if not many, of these deaths are preventable. The key is in connections.
In my case, I found myself emotionally disconnected from others. Like some students today, I felt a sense of hopelessness and helplessness.
But nowadays there are more resources for students and parents alike. The Jed Foundation is a great resource for college student suicide prevention. There are also other projects overseen by the Jed Foundation such as Transition Year, ULifeline, Love is Louder, and Half of Us.
For students who have a lived experience with a mental health concern, there’s Active Minds, NAMI on Campus and Strength of Us. Also, in the age of social media, there are numerous forums, blogs, and websites devoted to mental health.
All of these amazing organizations, and more, are available to help college students thrive and succeed academically.
I’ve often said that if I knew then what I know now, I may have fared better. On the other hand perhaps I was predisposed with Bipolar Disorder and it may not have made a difference. In the end, I feel fortunate to be able to look back and use my experience to help others.
So if you’re a student or parent know that there is hope and a way to make the college experience a positive one.