Technology is Helping Counselors Meet Student Demand

It’s no surprise to hear that college students get stressed out but the increased number of students seeking mental health resources has forced college campuses to address overflowing waiting rooms.

College counseling centers across the country have seen an influx of students asking for help with stress and depression. Recent high tech innovations have allowed for the streamlining of intake and help mental health experts to address high risk students more immediately.

There is no proof whether students are currently more depressed or if the negative stigma of seeking help for mental health is slowing dissipating. No matter the cause, it is important for counseling centers to analyze the needs of patients and prioritize treatment by risk. Students found to have high risk depression should be treated more immediately and with more observation.

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Facebook Depression: Social Media is No Replacement for Social Interaction

By Brooke Randolph

In the discussion about “Facebook Depression” sparked from the Clinical Report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, I tend to side with John Grohol who reminds us of the basic truth of research- that correlation does not equal causation, but I do think the relationship is more complicated than simply correlation or causation.

Facebook is the most widely spread social media platform with more than 500 million active users. My grandmother is on Facebook (primarily stalking us all – Hi, Grandma!). I know some elementary school students who use Facebook with their parent’s permission. I have friends in several different countries and time zones on Facebook. When we look at Facebook users, we are looking at a large section of the population of the world. We really cannot consider Facebook users a category of people to research.

Many years ago, before everyone and their grandmothers were on Facebook, I read and wrote about research which showed that while watching television, viewers were mildly depressed and anxious. Our brains are not satisfied with observing social interactions; we need to participate socially to obtain the benefits of having other people around us and in our line of sight. I would guess that the person who sits alone at a party not talking to anyone ends up feeling much the same way – left out and alone. Comments from friends, birthday messages, and event invites can make us smile or feel special; but it is no substitution for face to face interactions with people who care about us.

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Bullied Teens End Life in Suicide Pact

Middle schoolers Haylee Fentress and Paige Moravetz blame bullying for their suicide pact

In an apparent suicide pact, two female teenagers killed themselves at a sleepover last weekend. The middle-schoolers indicated that they were bullied at their Minnesota school.

Eighth-graders Haylee Fentress and Paige Moravetz ended their lives by hanging themselves. Facebook posts and cryptic notes pinpoint clues of them feeling outcasted and bullied.

Just weeks before their deaths, Haylee posted this disturbing note on Paige’s Facebook wall:

“I’m so nervous and I just want to get it over with … I love you, Paige.”

Though the two friends seemed to be fed up with their fellow classmates, Haylee and Paige found comradeship in each other. A few weeks ago, Haylee was suspended for fighting with a fellow student. Her reason: She was defending her best friend, Paige.

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More Mental Health Problems in College Freshmen

College freshman are experiencing more mental health problems than ever, according to a study conducted at UCLA‘s Higher Education Research Institute.

“More students are arriving on campus with problems, needing support, and today’s economic factors are putting a lot of extra stress on college students, as they look at their loans and wonder if there will be a career waiting for them on the other side.” said Brian Van Brunt, director of counseling at Western Kentucky University and president of the American College Counseling Association.

“The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2010” surveyed over 200,000  full-time freshman students at four-year colleges and found that a significant percentage of students rated their mental  health as “below average.” Additionally, merely 52 percent of  students said their emotional health was above average. In 1985, it was 64 percent.

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Jobs with the Highest Depression Rates

It doesn’t matter if you’re 10, 21 or 55; it’s hard to decide what career path you want to take. Personally, I have changed my mind at least a dozen times. The only things that consistently keep me happy are my family and my writing. Speaking of being happy with your job, did you know that some careers are more likely to produce depressed workers? Although it’s true, that doesn’t mean I’m discouraging anyone from pursuing these higher-than-normal depression-causing careers. Hundreds of factors can contribute to the cause of depression, so it’s important not to choose your career based off this list. However, it’s some interesting trivia and may prove helpful for those of you who are already susceptible to the blues.

Child Care and Nursing Home Workers Almost 11 percent of the nursing home and child care workforce report having symptoms of depression. This particular field can be very rewarding, but it’s important to remember that the caregivers often do tremendous amounts of work for people that are unable- or in some cases, unwilling- to provide praise and thanks. For many people, the stress of this job piles up over the years.

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The Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

School, work and personal-life stresses have a way of piling up at the worst times; in the dead of winter when you’re faced with short days and little-to-no sunlight. Depression that recurs each year, in the fall or winter months, is called Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is caused by a lack of sunlight and other external factors. The following questions can help you decide if you might have SAD. Keep in mind that many of these symptoms can be caused by normal emotions. It’s important to trust your instincts if something doesn’t feel right.

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Mental Health Needs Increasing at Colleges

The New York Times is reporting an increase in the mental health needs of college students. A rising need for suicide intervention, counseling and hospitalizations are popping up across the country. One can’t help but wonder what is causing depression in students and other mental health disorders.

Bullying is a problem among all age groups. The moment you place a group of people together (whether they are three years old or in college) there will be bullies. Toy-snatching and cooties turn into fear and ignorance as we get older. We now know that the acceptance of others can play a huge role in our own mental health. One should never depend on approval from somebody else, but safety and comfort shouldn’t be sacrificed either. Anti-bullying campaigns are popping up everywhere as people start to realize the vital importance of treating each other well.

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Half of Depressed Teens Relapse Within Five Years

A recent study found that half of the teens who were successfully treated for depression have a relapse within five years of recovery. What is causing young people to continuously experience major depression? The majority of the subjects who relapsed were female and it could be because young women in their teens and twenties have a tendency to harbor negative feelings. More studies need to be done before any real conclusion is obtained because depression is a complicated issue. It’s causes are intertwined in genetics, personality and circumstance.

Depression comes in many forms and it’s vital to understand that being depressed doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you. Keep in mind that it’s nearly winter and ’tis the season also means that Seasonal Affective Disorder is ready to rear its head again. Shorter days mean lack of sunlight, which can contribute to depression for a lot of people. Read the rest of this entry »

Support, Resources and Suicide Prevention for Gay Teens

the-trevor-projectThe recent suicides of five gay teenagers in the past three weeks has a lot of people talking about acceptance of gay teens, suicide prevention resources and bullying. An onslaught of celebrities, journalists and activists have been speaking out against anti-gay bullying and giving encouragement to other gay teens who may be suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts.

In addition to the suicide prevention resources available to all teens and young people, there is also specialized support for those who identify as lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender or queer.

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How to Fight Off the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

winter-collegeSeasonal Affective Disorder, with the apt acronym SAD, is a form of depression that occurs only during a certain time of year. Most often occurring in the winter months, SAD has been linked to the shorter duration of sunlight. It’s believed that fewer daylight hours cause the brain to produce less serotonin. Research indicates that lower levels of serotonin are more likely in persons who suffer from all kinds of depression, but many of the links between brain chemistry and mood are unknown. Some experts also think that melatonin, a hormone key to sleep, may also impact SAD. People typically begin to suffer from SAD in their mid-teens. As you age, your likelihood of being affected by the condition decreases.

Because SAD is linked to a lack of sunlight, light therapy is the most common course of treatment. There are two types of light therapy: bright light treatment or dawn simulation. Bright light treatment requires the patient to sit in front of a “light box” for a period of time each day, usually in the morning. Dawn simulation is used during sleep. It consists of a low-intensity light that is timed to turn on at a certain time in the morning before you awake, and gradually brightens. Most people find dawn simulation more convenient, however studies have show that bright light therapy is more effective.

It may take up to two weeks for light therapy to take effect. The therapy must be continued throughout the winter, or else relapses in depression are likely to occur.

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