Mason Family Flash

How to help your student in distress

Depression, Anxiety, and College Students
To no surprise, college life can be a demanding time for students. Managing schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and possibly even holding down a job create stressful situations for your student to prioritize. When effectively dealt with, the stress can subside into productivity. However, an over-exposure to stress without healthy coping strategies can develop into more severe conditions, such as panic attacks, anxiety disorders, and depression.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there is no single cause for depression or anxiety. Often, it is an accumulation of causes that generate these succumbing feelings of uneasiness, sadness, and worthlessness. Here is a list of common causes known for creating stress on college students:

  1. Difficulty adjusting to new way of life
  2. Struggling to manage school work with other demands
  3. Being away from home, family, and friends
  4. Feeling alone and isolated
  5. Financial worries
  6. Conflicts in relationships

When to Seek Counseling
For some students, seeking help can be a challenging and even daunting task. In certain situations, a student may not recognize their need for counseling, making it important for their loved ones to notice any changes in the student’s behavior. Here is a list of signs to look for in your student:

  1. Stagnant emotional discomfort
  2. Loss of energy and difficulty sleeping
  3. Lacking interest in favorite activities
  4. Decline in personal hygiene
  5. Difficulties in memorization, concentration, and learning new information
  6. Irregular appetite and unexplained weight alterations

While there have been countless studies on why this is, there is no denying the importance of mental healthcare for college students. Fortunately, Mason’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and Learning Services are here for your students, all at no cost.

CAPS and Learning Services
Located in SUB I, room 3129, CAPS and Learning Services work together to ensure that students from all backgrounds are getting the help they deserve, whether it be professional, psychological, or academic.

Comprised of licensed clinical psychologists, social workers, and counselors, CAPS offers group and individual therapy, workshops, and community education programs. Therapy Assisted Online (TAO) counseling, the newest addition of services from CAPS, is a free, strictly confidential interactive web-based program that provides 24/7 self-help resources on various topics, such as general worries, low mood, substance abuse evaluations, and interpersonal relationship communication.

For academic assistance, Learning Services is staffed by a learning specialist, graduate assistants, and peer academic coaches who provide one-on-one academic coaching, as well as academic success workshops. In addition, Learning Services offers online resources to the Mason community.

Student Support and Advocacy Center
The Student Support and Advocacy Center (SSAC) is located in SUB I, room 3200. SSAC’s mission is to provide an empowering environment for all Mason students to seek support services and to explore healthy life choices. If you feel your student is in need of help but is reluctant to seek assistance, SSAC can arrange an intervention with students who are encountering life crises or significant personal challenges to express the value in pursuing support services.

To-Do List for Helping your Student in Distress 

  1. Reach out to your student if you feel they are experiencing signs of depression and/or anxiety.
  2. Inform the student of their options and remind them they are not alone.
  3. Encourage your student to seek help by directing them to CAPS mason and Learning Services 
  4. Contact SSAC, (703)-993-3686, for a consultation about the wellbeing of your student.

Brandon Cantrell
Graduate Professional Assistant
Learning Services

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