Forty-five percent of students have felt hopeless in the last year, according to research from the American College Health Association. To combat this issue, the Wellness Center offered depression screenings from CollegeResponse last Thursday and Friday as a part of the National Depression Screening Day.
The survey itself checks for depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the Screening for Mental Health Inc. (SMH), the test can detect key symptoms such as lethargy, mood swings, and feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, but it isn’t comprehensive enough to diagnose mental disorders. Wellness Center Senior Clinician, Academic Advisor and Life Skills Coach, Laurie Floren, ran the screening event, but could not be contacted for comment by press time.
Daniel Jenkins, PLNU professor of psychology and the director of Lighthouse Psychological Services, an outpatient psychological clinic, said college students are at a higher risk for depression because of stress.
“A lot of times, people who are depressed don’t know they’re depressed,” Jenkins said. “It becomes normal for them to feel this way, and it’s only by comparing them to normal people on a measure like this that we can figure out that they’re depressed.”
Jenkins said even past issues can resurface because of stress from college life, but there are ways to fight depression.
“Stay connected [and] go back to the basics: make sure you get enough sleep, make sure you eat the right food, get some exercise. Exercise has been found to be even as effective in helping people recover from depression as antidepressant medication,” said Jenkins.
The WellnessCenter offers counseling, but students can take an online screening at www.HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org.