Colleges and their professors on a basis, are not inclusive or highly aware of students who struggle with either or both, depression and anxiety. However to allow students to get the most out of their college experience
- In 2011 30% of students surveyed said that they felt “so depressed it was too difficult to function” in the past year at least once.
- In 2011 6% of students seriously considered suicide.
- In 2011 1% of students attempted suicide
- Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in ages 15-24.
- Anxiety is the top concern among students (41.6%) followed closely by depression (36.4%) and relationship problems (35.8%)
- Panic disorder is the top reason women drop out of college.
- Anxiety rates have risen to epidemic proportions in the past couple years among students.
So what? Is anxiety and depression actually an issue that should be addressed? Why yes of course! As shown by the survey done in 2011, sometimes depression can make it impossible for students to even get out of bed and function correctly.
Those with depression may experience:
- Loss of interest in hobbies
- Lack of energy
- Problems with concentrating
- Memory loss
- Problems with decision making
- Staying asleep for too long
- Loss of appetite or eating more than usual
- Aches, cramps, headaches, and persistent digestive problems
- Thoughts or attempts of suicide
Those with anxiety may experience:
- Feelings of apprehension or dread
- Trouble concentrating
- Feeling tense and jumpy
- Anticipating the worst
- Watching for signs of danger
- Feeling like your mind’s gone blank
- Pounding heart
- Stomach upset or dizziness
- Frequent urination or diarrhea
- Shortness of breath
- Tremors and twitches
- Muscle tension
Those having an anxiety/panic attack might experience:
- Surge of overwhelming panic
- Feeling of losing control or going crazy
- Heart palpitations or chest pain
- Feeling like you’re going to pass out
- Trouble breathing or choking sensation
- Hot flashes or chills
- Trembling or shaking
- Nausea or stomach cramps
- Feeling detached or unreal
- Feeling unreal or detached from your surroundings
- Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or faint
- Fear of dying, losing control, or going crazy
- Numbness or tingling sensations
As seen, it would be extremely hard for a student to function in class or even make it to class while having anxiety. Many students end up failing classes or having to drop out because panic attacks might make it so they can’t go to class. There are things professors can do to that will allow students to have an easier time in class.
These things include:
- Being predictable
- Format of class up front
- Allow for some student control
- Being flexible
- Understand they can’t always be there
- Set up fallbacks in case they miss class
- Be trusting; they aren’t lying about anxiety
There’s so many reasons why I believe professors need to become more educated on the effects of anxiety and depression. For me especially this is important because this year I had several professors who yelled at me for missing class, when I informed them upfront I have extreme social anxiety and that this might happen. I have had college professors who actually helped me through my anxiety and got me into the counseling center. However, this semester I had two professors who told me that the only option was to drop out, grow up, get over it, or take online classes. It’s extremely difficult to get excused absences for anxiety attacks. Most colleges don’t recognize it as an actual medical hindrance. This means college professors need to take the initiative to help their students through college. It’s not just about stress, it’s an actual problem that needs to be helped.