How to Improve Your Health During Spring Semester

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Be aware that anxiety and depression are common among college students.,
Avoid negative coping strategies.,
Know how to get help.,
Learn to manage stress in a healthy way.,
Get help immediately if you are considering suicide.

In 2014, 86.4% of students surveyed by the Spring 2014 National College Health Assessment reported feeling overwhelmed by all they had to do within the last year. 54% reported feeling overwhelming anxiety, 32.6% reported feeling so depressed that it was difficult to function, and 8.1% seriously considered suicide.College is often the first time young adults are away from home for a long period of time and free to make major decisions that may impact the rest of their lives.This causes a considerable amount of anxiety, along with the desire to succeed, as college has become extremely expensive.
The lack of sleep that is experienced by many college students can have a major impact on mental health and coping skills. Make sure you are getting enough rest, even if it means you have to turn down some party invitations, drop a class, or participate in fewer clubs and extracurriculars. You want to make the most of your college experience, but you need to be well-rested to stay healthy mentally and physically.
Learn the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety so you can identify if you or a friend is suffering.

, Many people may turn to binge drinking, drug abuse and risky sexual behavior in an attempt to cope with their uncomfortable feelings. Unfortunately, these coping strategies are not only dangerous, they can make your uncomfortable feelings even worse.

Binge drinking is defined as drinking five or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion at least one day out of the last month.According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), “More than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.”1,825 college students in that age group die each year from alcohol-related injuries, and more than 150,000 develop an “alcohol-related health problem.”The “hook up” culture that is often linked to excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to increased anxiety, depression, and drinking.If you are using alcohol, drugs, or sex to cope with negative feelings, talk to a trusted friend and seek out the help of a mental health professional.

, It may seem daunting, but getting help and talking to someone is the first step toward feeling better.Your college or university should have mental health or counseling services available to students, or should have the resources to connect you to a mental health professional in the community.There may also be clubs on campus, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) that offers peer-to-peer support.Try using the search option on ULifeline to find resources on your campus.
If you are not ready to seek professional help, try opening up to a trusted friend, family member, or professor.

, Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but there are ways you can eliminate unnecessary stress and cope with stressors. Becoming a healthy adult means learning healthy, productive ways to deal with stress in your life.

Learn more about time management. People aren’t born knowing how to juggle school, work, friends, family, hobbies, etc. It’s a skill that you can learn at any time. One thing that may help is learning to say “No” so that you don’t take on more than you can handle.Set goals and stop procrastinating. Putting things off to the last minute can cause your stress levels to skyrocket.
Try journaling to help you understand your emotions, work through important decisions, and get any worries out of your head and down on paper.Find support through friends and family. These people can listen to you vent, help you through hard times, as well as laugh and celebrate with you. Don’t try to deal with your stress on your own — the people who care about you will be happy to help.
Identify and work on changing negative thought patterns. Often, people fall into unproductive thought patterns, focusing on what they think they should or shouldn’t do, seeing thing as black or white, catastrophizing, focusing on only the negative and discounting the positive, and more.Learning to challenge these thoughts, and learning more healthy ways to think, can do wonders for your mental health and stress levels.

, Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 24.1 in 10 college students has made a plan for suicide, and there are more than 1,000 suicides on college campuses every year.If you are considering suicide, call a friend or family member, or 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK for immediate assistance. If you feel you are in immediate danger, call 911 or your local emergency number.You can also check yourself into the emergency room to keep yourself safe from harming yourself. Warning signs of suicide include:

Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
Talking about being a burden to others.
Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
Sleeping too little or too much.
Withdrawn or feeling isolated.
Preoccupation with death.
Making arrangements; setting one’s affairs in order.
Giving things away, such as prized possessions.

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