The problem of depression among students

The increasing cases of mental health issues among students have raised a lot of concerns in today’s society. Some of the major mental health issues affecting college students include depression, bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In a study carried out by Mirón et al. (2019), it was established that 1 in every 5 students is suffering from either depression or anxiety. Further, almost 40% of students reported to have depression before the starting of a new semester in college.

The causes of depression are not clearly known but health professionals have attributed factors such as trauma, childhood abuse, long term stress and bereavement as the major causes. In addition, lifestyle factors such as drugs have been ascribed to depression (January et al., 2018). In as much as depression varies among individuals, there are some symptoms exhibited specifically by students that relate to depression, including mood swings, withdrawal from the society, dramatic mood changes, lack of concentration and suicide thoughts.


According to Wang, Cai, Qian & Peng (2014), the prevalence of depression has been marked as a crisis that is greatly affecting the performance of students in schools. Depression affects social interaction among students. Further, students with depression face problems of social isolation as they find it difficult to express themselves. Stigmatization of mental health issues such as depression has resulted to adverse effects such as dropping out of school (Enns et al., 2016). For instance, a student suffering from depression may find it difficult to participate in class discussions. Consequently, the academic performance of such students may drop, thus leading to extreme effects such as dropping out of school and developing suicidal thoughts. January et al. (2018) reported that over 64% of students fail to attend college classes due to depression and other mental health issues.

In addition to affecting learning, depression distorts one’s concentration, which increases the risk of developing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Students with depression find it hard to complete simple tasks that may require cognitive skills. As such, depression may lead to reduced cognitive performance, which affects the emotional well-being of students. The proven effects that depression has on the cognitive functioning depict the overall relationship between mental health stability and the thinking processes. Depression leads to memory problems such as difficulty in remembering specific events.

Recommendations to cope with the issue

According to Enns et al (2016), counseling is the first step in dealing with students who exhibit

depressive symptoms. It is imperative for schools to establish student counseling centers that enable students to handle depression.  Counseling promotes the radical acceptance of one’s mental state, hence paving ways of finding help to deal with the situation. Professional counselors should be employed at schools to provide solutions to depression. According to Mirón et al (2019), early detection of depression is critical in improving the success of the therapeutic interventions.

Besides, early detection of depression would negate the adverse effects of depression among students such as suicide. It is necessary to establish a support network in schools to help students diagnosed with depression to cope with its effects. Wang, Cai, Qian & Peng (2014) argue that support groups are essential in handling mental health issues as they provide valuable advice. Support groups also provide a sense of belonging to individuals as they all experience the same challenge.