College freshmen need to be aware of mental health issues

Even after the hectic college admission process is finally over, starting your freshman year of college can be a time of significant change. Moving far away from your family and friends, balancing your studies and a part-time job and adjusting to new surroundings can make some students feel depressed. These feelings are completely normal, and help is available to ensure that you don't lose sight of your goals, or fall behind in your coursework.

Many colleges offer free assistance to students who think they might be depressed, such as San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico. The university offers free depression screenings to help freshmen cope with the changes going on in their lives. The initiative coincides with Mental Illness Awareness Week.

"Depression can interfere with not only a student's college life, but also with their social life, their ability to do their job effectively, how they interact with their family," Krista Rainwater, a counsellor at the college, told the Farmington Daily Times newspaper.

College officials can refer you to the on-campus nurse or medical team if you think you might need someone to talk to. Mental Health America recommends that college students plan their day to prioritize their college work. Freshmen should also participate in extra-curricular activities and discuss their feelings with a classmate or faculty member if they're feeling low.  

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