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Mental Health Overview

According to the most recent American College Health Association Needs Assessment of our student body, top factors that impact their academics are: Stress, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and depression. Click below to find out more information about these factors.

 

What is Stress?

    • Stress is a normal reaction the body has when changes occur. It can respond to these changes physically, mentally, or emotionally. Stress can result from both negative and positive changes.
    • Not all stress is bad, however too much stress, or stress for long periods of time can cause emotional and or physical consequences.

 

What are the signs and symptoms of stress?

  • General aches and pains.
  • Indigestion or acid reflux symptoms
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Muscle tension in neck, face or shoulders
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Racing heart
  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach, diarrhea
  • Sadness
  • Poor concentration
  • Forgetfulness
  • Irritability
  • Feeling overwhelmed

 

What are some ways you can manage stress?

  • Get enough sleep
  • Try to eat well
  • Work on time management
  • Allow time for hobbies
  • Spending time with others
  • Avoid substance use
  • Exercise

(www.ClevelandClinic)

 

What is sleep deprivation?

“Sleep deprivation describes the cumulative effect of a person not having sufficient sleep,” according to the American Sleep Association. The condition is common, with more than one-third of the U.S. population not getting enough sleep, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For young adults, eight hours of sleep is thought to be the necessary daily minimum.

What are sign of sleep deprivation?

  • Memory issues (that obviously affect learning)
  • Mood swings
  • Weakened immune system
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease
  • Increased hunger and weight gain
  • Greater risk of accidents
  • Trouble concentrating

 

What are some ways to get a good night’s sleep?

  • Keep the electronics out of your sleep space.
  • Engage in relaxing activities before bed. Have downtime before bedtime that involves minimal activity such as, Listening to music, reading before bed. 
  • Stay away from caffeine and other stimulants for at least six hours before bedtime.
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet at bedtime. A cooler, darker, quieter atmosphere helps promote sleep. Use earplugs and an eye cover to minimize noise and light.
  • Keep your bed space for sleeping and intimacy. Limit other uses for your bed such as for studying, play video games etc.
  • Avoid napping during the day.
  • Skip the booze before bed.
  • Try to follow a regular bedtime schedule, and follow it on weekends, too.
  • Don’t exercise before bedtime. Exercise a few hours before you’re getting ready for sleep.
  • Practice relaxation/meditation/breathing techniques
  • Sometimes sleep concerns could be a result of a physical or mental health condition. The Wellness Center clinicians can help in determining the cause of your sleep concerns and work with you to develop a treatment plan. 

 

 

What is depression?

  • It's natural to feel sad, down, or discouraged at times. We all feel these human emotions, they're reactions to the hassles and hurdles of life.
  • We may feel sad over an argument with a friend, a breakup, or a best friend moving out of town. We might be disappointed about doing poorly on a test or discouraged if our team can't break its losing streak. The death of someone close can lead to a specific kind of sadness — grief.
  • Most of the time, people manage to deal with these feelings and get past them with a little time and care.
  • Depression is more than occasionally feeling blue, sad, or down in the dumps, though. Depression is a strong mood involving sadness, discouragement, despair, or hopelessness that lasts for weeks, months, or even longer.
  • Depression affects more than a person's mood. It affects thinking, too. It interferes with the ability to notice or enjoy the good things in life. (Kidshealth.org)

 

What are the signs and symptoms of depression?

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or unwanted weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms, such as muscle pain or headaches
  • Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms. Some people have many. (www.NIMH.org)
  • If any of these symptoms are interfering with your functioning, you may want to come to The Beard Wellness Center and speak to a provider. The good news is that depression is treatable. 

 

What is Anxiety?

  • Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety from time to time. Anxiety can be described as a sense of uneasiness, nervousness, worry, fear, or dread of what's about to happen or what might happen. While fear is the emotion we feel in the presence of threat, anxiety is a sense of anticipated danger, trouble, or threat.
  • Feelings of anxiety can be mild or intense (or anywhere in between), depending on the person and the situation. Mild anxiety can feel like a sense of uneasiness or nervousness. More intense anxiety can feel like fear, dread, or panic. Worrying and feelings of tension and stress are forms of anxiety. So are stage fright and the shyness that can come with meeting new people.
  • It's natural for new, unfamiliar, or challenging situations to prompt feelings of anxiety or nervousness. Facing an important test, a big date, or a major class presentation can trigger normal anxiety. Although these situations don't actually threaten a person's safety, they can cause someone to feel "threatened" by potential embarrassment, worry about making a mistake, fitting in, stumbling over words, being accepted or rejected, or losing pride. Because anxiety makes a person alert, focused, and ready to head off potential problems, a little anxiety can help us do our best in situations that involve performance. But anxiety that's too strong can interfere with doing our best. Too much anxiety can cause people to feel overwhelmed, tongue-tied, or unable to do what they need to do. (Kidshealth.org).

 

What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety?

  • Feeling on edge
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Restlessness
  • Avoiding activities
  • Isolating from peer group
  • Frequent headaches, including migraines
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Changes in eating habits.
  • Concerns/changes with sleep
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Significant jump in grades (usually downward)
  • Frequently missed assignments
  • Feeling overwhelmed by workload
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sweating and trembling
  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Numbness or tingling in arms and legs

(https://www.psycom.net)

 

If you feel you may be struggling with depression, anxiety, stress help is available.

Depression, anxiety, stress are treatable.  Visit the Beard Wellness Center to talk to a provider about the services we offer.