Clinically reviewed by Dr. Chris Mosunic, PhD, RD, CDCES, MBA

In college and not sure if you’re struggling with your mental health? Read this

by Vivian Nunez

Keep these 6 things in mind if you’re a college student

College is a fun, new, and sometimes overwhelming time in your life. You could be navigating the most amazing, overwhelming feelings of excitement, or your overwhelm could feel like a load on your shoulders that keeps getting heavier. College student mental health is a mix of everything.

In addition to being the first time you have the freedom of living independently, this may also be the first time you ask yourself, “Am I struggling with my mental health? Also, how do I even know if I’m struggling? Also, what are anxiety and depression symptoms?”

Since college is naturally stressful and full of big life transitions, it can be hard to distinguish between normal growing pains and signs that you may be struggling with your mental health.

Here are seven things to think about if you think you may be struggling.

You just feel “off”

Everyone’s mental health is unique, same as their physical health. So, how you define feeling “off” is very personal. For some people, it may be that they’re sleeping in way more than usual, while for others, a big red flag could be their lack of interest in a sport or hobby. Usually, mental health conditions (like anxiety or depression) don’t come with just one symptom, so don’t be scared if you have one change in your habits. Instead, zoom out on your life and see if it’s paired with other symptoms.

You’re struggling to keep up with your responsibilities

Similar to noticing if you’re feeling “off,” think about how you have traditionally managed your responsibilities and whether you’re struggling to keep up with everything now. If things are falling through the cracks and you’re having a hard time catching up, this may be a good place to start asking for help from a college counselor.

You aren’t sleeping well

Lack of sleep, or difficulty sleeping, is one of the most common depression and anxiety symptoms. It can make you feel cranky, anxious, or just plain tired. Notice if your new sleep habits are interfering with your day-to-day life.

You feel alone

It’s normal to feel lonely when you start at a new school or new classes. Making friends, finding your people, or joining clubs takes time. The key to look out for is if your loneliness persists or feels unmanageable, which may be a cue to seek out some support.

You’re turning to unhealthy habits a lot

Dipping into unhealthy habits to help you cope with stress, lack of sleep, or overwhelm is one of the biggest signs that you may be struggling with mental health. Seeking support could potentially help you learn how to replace those unhealthy habits with new, healthier ones. In this article, we dive into the different types of therapy and how they may help.

Any changes or symptoms you have are sticking around

In the same way that you will almost always have more than one symptom or change if you’re struggling with your mental health, you’ll also have symptoms that stick around for weeks. For instance, to receive a diagnosis of depression, you must have a series of symptoms for at least two weeks.

This is a short list of possible symptoms, and since we couldn’t cover all the possible signs, don’t be afraid to seek out other resources. Everything from the Calm Health app to your campus counselors or doctors can be valuable resources to help you better understand your mental health.

Calm Health is a mental health wellness product. Calm Health is not intended to diagnose or treat depression, anxiety, or any other disease or condition. Calm Health is not a substitute for care by a physician or other health care provider. Any questions that you may have regarding the diagnosis, care, or treatment of a medical condition should be directed to your physician or health care provider.

Ready to get started?

We’ve made it easy to take the first step. Just download the Calm Health app, create your account, and answer a few simple questions to help us understand how you’re feeling. You’ll get instant recommendations for the Calm Health programs that will be the most helpful for you.

Our programs are created by licensed psychologists, and you can explore them at your own pace, in any order you like.

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