Counseling Services sees mid-semester spike in depression

Kansas State's Counseling Services is now located in room 101 in Lafene Health Center. The center offers focused counseling to currently registered students in crisis-intervention, decision making, adjustment and other matters of personal concern. (Hannah Greer | Collegian Media Group)

Adjusting to being away from home on top of dealing with school work is something most students experience. Something that is not really talked about is the “blue” feeling freshmen get when they are away from home.

Depression is a factor in many students’ lives. Laurie Wesely, Counseling Services associate director, said Counseling Services sees a spike in students experiencing depression in October after the feeling of being new on campus wears off.

Caroline Ayres, freshman in kinesiology, said her first few weeks on campus felt like camp.

“I think not being in a home environment has affected how I feel lot,” Ayres said. “In my house, I feel as if I can unwind. Here, it feels as if I’m not quite home. It took me a few months to get used to the fact that I was here for the long run.”

Ayres said when she does have the blues, she calls her mother or tries to study.

“I try to keep myself occupied with other things,” Ayres said. “A lot of times when I don’t have enough to do is when I start feeling down.”

Adjusting to classes can also be a challenge for students. Kendall Rintamaki, freshman in secondary education, said that was what she struggled with the most.

“I knew going into classes were going to be hard,” Rintamaki said. “But then how hard they were hit me like a bus and like the amount of work that went with it — I never had such a workload.”

For upperclassmen getting closer to graduation, there is excitement and fear for the future as well as sadness surrounding the end of their college career. A classmate or a friend might be struggling.

Wesely said there are some ways to notice someone you know might be struggling: any changes, starting to withdraw, difference in appetite or style of dress, not going to classes or changes in sleep.

Wesely also gave some advice about how to help cure the blues.

“College is your primary job as a student,” Wesely said. “Think of it like that. Go to your classes even if you don’t feel you can be mentally present. I think it’s important you keep a routine. I think it’s really important when you think about balance to eat regularly, making sleep a priority and that you have time for your friends and that fun stuff.”

For anyone struggling with depression, contact Counseling Services. The Center for Student Life is available to help those struggling with test anxiety. Wesely said students should prioritize mental health.