You’re lying in bed without an ounce of physical or mental strength. Your alarm keeps buzzing, reminding you that you should get up since you have class in half an hour, but your body feels lifeless and the only place you feel relatively safe from the outside world is your bed.
The most prevalent mental illnesses that college students face are anxiety and depression. Typically, these two disorders go hand-in-hand, so it is not atypical to have both.
According to a 2012 survey administered by Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, 95 percent of the college counseling directors surveyed, claimed the number of students with significant psychological problems is a growing concern on campus.
Of the students surveyed in the Spring 2014 National College Health Assessment put on by American College Health Association, 33 percent reported feeling depressed to the point where it was difficult to function over the past year.
Over half of the students reported feelings of overwhelming anxiety and 87 percent reported feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities.
Can we really be surprised by these statistics though?
There is certainly still a stigma associated with having a mental illness, which makes it all the more difficult for a student to come forth and actually ask for some sort of help or just to even tell someone, like a professor, about it.
Edward C. Roth, director of Disability Support Services at Fullerton College, has worked with disabled students for over a dozen years and has been director here for three months. He mentioned he has noticed an “uptick” in students with anxiety, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and schizophrenia in recent years.
Roth agreed anxiety and depression are the most notable disorders here at Fullerton College, but because they are still taboo to talk about, they can be underreported. Although, a high number of students on campus come in to talk about their daily anxieties.
A mental illness can be crippling and hinder individuals from their daily activities, such as going to school, work, seeing friends or even talking to anyone. It can put a student in a state of isolation.
Students may find themselves missing class more than they want and as a result, may get dropped. This could, of course, be a great hindrance to their education and overall future.
“They [mental illnesses] can be debilitating and challenging,” Roth said.
If a student talks to Disability Support Services, a counselor, student and professor can meet to arrange a reasonable accommodation with course work and absences.
For example, if three absences are allowed before being dropped, the counselor and professor can agree to extend it out to five days for the student.
Fullerton College’s Disability Support Services offers students support, accommodations and counseling. It is a welcoming, accepting and non-judgmental environment that handles students’ situations case-by-case.
Roth mentioned there is nothing wrong with getting help or a different perspective and stressed the importance of getting that support you may need.
“Take a risk. It’s going to be fine, don’t be afraid to reach out,” Roth said. “There are so many resources.”
Ultimately, your mental health should be prioritized above everything else even when life gets a little hectic. If you would like some assistance, contact Disability Support Services at (714) 992-7099.