Mental health is not uncommon among adults. As a matter of fact, there is countless depiction of individuals with mental disorder in popular culture. (Norman Bates should come to mind first.) As for teenagers with mental illness, it would be far and wide. Stephen Chbosky's "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" revealed a reticent lad's struggles to come to terms with a traumatic past, but many young readers couldn't think of another material. (Any character linked to Harry Potter won't be included. The same thing goes to Pixar's endearing "Inside Out".) Could it be a reflection of the current view on a college student's mental health? It would be a coincidence, but one couldn't help but ponder on the subject matter.
College is supposed to be the best time of an adolescent's life, but that may be the problem. There's a great expectation to succeed (or the students have thought before their first day in the university). Adolescence is a transition period, where the teen's psychological and emotional well-being are undergoing development (or getting stunted depending on an unpleasant experience). Some have no clue about what they really want to do. The university might be a blessing in disguise. In other words, college students need a security blanket to ensure the successful handling of the coursework. However, there are few counselors available despite the high demand for them.
Administrators have accepted the student's mental health issues despite the cutback on the budget. On the student's part, acknowledging their (mental health) issues would be the first step. Can they talk openly about it? Of course. It's the third millennium (or they don't have accounts in social media). There's a peer group within the university who will welcome any student with open arms. (It can also depend on their preferences, which is another thing.) They'll talk about it sooner or later. There are five signs that will tell troubled students that they need help, namely depression, dealing with the issue of perfectionism, losing (or recovering) one's relationship with family and friends, working hard to the point of illness (or taking a leave), and when to reach out.
5 New Models of Mental Health Issues in Colleges
One is a lonely number. Depression can afflict anyone, even the ones with a sunny disposition. There are several reasons behind it, such as focusing too much on the coursework, inability to make new friends, and resistance to peer pressure. If you happen to relate to the first case, then decide when you'll take time for yourself. Do it sooner, as it can affect your focus on your studies. If you happen to be trying too hard to make new friends, then step backward. Be yourself. One or two will be interested in you. Regarding the last one, it will be better not to compare yourself to others. (You're in the same boat.) Another option will be taking a step backward. It seems easier said than done, but your coursework is your responsibility.
Are you too perfect? There's nothing wrong about perfectionism, but it can send mixed signals to your coursemates. (If you're a member of the varsity team, then you'll earn supporters. It's the only exception, though.) Conformity is one way of dealing with it, but it will depend on the situation. (How will you know? Ask yourself if you'll gain from it. Popularity may not be appealing at all.) You need to talk about it with an adult, whom you have trust. Your parents will be the first on your short list, with your tutor and counselor not far behind.
How to lose (or recover) your family and friends in 10 days. Your family and friends will understand your situation, of what you're about to gain after a few years in college. There's always a way if you want it, so don't use the coursework as an excuse. (Nothing is hard, even thinking of hook sentences. You know it all along, so you only need to sit down and think of the best way to write it.)
To leave or not to leave, that is the question. Let's not talk about your gap year, as this is not a life-or-death situation. Dropping out is out of the question. How about a weekend getaway? What about a short vacation with your family? Let's not forget a long sleep. This might be settled instantly.
Reach out. You must swallow your pride on this one, but there's no other way. If you keep it to yourself, then it will affect you sooner or late. (A shrink may be your option here.) If you can't find a counselor, then ask your tutor. Don't be surprised about volunteering, internship, even joining a club. You may need a distraction.
An Important Note on Social Media
Social media plays a major role in a student's well being. Instagram, for instance, is all about image. It's hard not to get envious of another student. It's rare to find a self-assured teenager, so don't feel embarrassed if you're not the one. It's also impossible not to have an Instagram account, but you can use it as an avenue to express your creativity. (Photography is pretty obvious here, but you can show your collection of soft toys.) There are some people who will share your enthusiasm on things that others will find it too geeky for their own taste.
YouTube can be a distraction, if not addiction. It might have worst effects before you even know it. Self discipline may be hard, but give it a try.
If you ever encounter cyberbullying, then look around (and walk away). Insecurity is an issue here, and it's not about you. If you need reassurance, call your parents. Hang out with your new friends.