More and more college students are suffering from mental illnesses , such as depression, anxiety, OCD and eating disorders. Why are mental health issues on the rise among college students? One word: stress.

College students are some of the most stressed out people in society. Is it a surprise why? We have classes, their respective homework, work to pay for those classes, trying to maintain a social life and somewhere in there try to eat and sleep. This is a problem.

It’s not healthy from a mental standpoint. While stress can be a good thing, too much can lead to the development of mental issues such as eating disorders, depression and anxiety. Physically it changes people too. Weight gain, lower immune systems, lethargy and a higher heart rate are all just a sliver of physical symptoms.

All of this affects our performance as students and productive members of society.

But who is really to blame for all of this? Society? Universities? While it’s safe to say both parties play a large role in these rising numbers, however some of the blame does fall on the students.

Most of the time, mental issues such as depression and anxiety are neurological, and can’t be helped. The University offers counseling for a variety of things, but how often do students really want to talk to a stranger about issues which they keep close to their hearts? Not to mention there are only so many counselors.

However, there are other ways for students to ease their burdens.

It may be as simple as cutting back on your activities. Sure, in your head you can say you’ll take 18 credit hours, join Greek Life, be on an exec board for three other organizations, date, get a  healthy amount of sleep and eating a perfect diet, but honestly you just can’t.

As the saying goes; “You can do anything, but not everything.” As much as you may want to experience every facet of college life, sacrifices have to be made.

Priorities also need to be established. Realistically, you can get three to five things done outside of your regular routine. Decide what is most important and do it first. Maybe it’s laundry, maybe it’s working on a project, either way, decide what needs to be done and when.

Finally, the idea of taking time off and relaxing has to lose it’s “lazy” and “selfish” stigma.

It is important for people to be “off” or not have to check their email and phone every ten minutes. Relaxation is a vital part of mental health. There is only so much stress and strain the mind can take before it becomes too much and starts to shut down.

Sometimes you have to put yourself ahead of friends, clubs and homework. This isn’t to say procrastination is a good idea, but have a set time to wind down. Have a night routine and try to stick to it as much as possible. Make an appointment with yourself. Sit down, watch Netflix, read a book or go for a run. Whatever relaxes you; do it.

Of course there is only so much a college student can do on their own. Students should still utilize the Wellness Services here at school. Northwest does care about the wellbeing of its students and gives many opportunities for students to take advantage .

Stress may be causing issues, but at least students don’t have to give it all of their being.

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