Depression among college students increases

By Mallory Terrence
November 15, 2007

A dramatic increase of depression among college students has become prevalent in the last decade.

College students are often uninformed about depression and do not know where to turn when they feel overwhelmed, stressed and extremely sad.

Some students are embarrassed by these feelings, not realizing depression is a biological cause and that there are many treatments available. Without addressing the depressive disorder your symptoms can worsen.

Cabrini College offers counseling services located right on campus, available to both full time and part time students. The services are free of charge and are set up around the student’s schedule.

“I hope students use us as a resource, if they just want to spend five minutes to find a new way to cope, even to come in and get a piece of candy. Simply talking to people does help,” Dr. Sara T. Maggitti, director of counseling services, said.

Thirty seven percent of college students say they have felt during the past school year “so depressed it was difficult to function,” spring 2006 data from the National College Health Assessment reported .

With the number of student mental health issues rising, campus counseling has to be able to accommodate the growing trend.

In the 2004-2005 academic year there were two part time counselors at Cabrini but due to the increase of students using the counseling services, the staff has grown to three full-time therapists.

The staff consists of a psychologist and two clinical social workers, as well as a consulting psychiatrist who evaluates students and prescribes medication when indicated.

When a student first visits the counseling services they must meet with a therapist for an initial assessment, allowing time for the therapist to determine a treatment plan.

Some students may need to see the psychiatrist who would prescribe medication to help cope with their illness.

“The most effective treatment for moderate depression is a combination of verbal psychotherapy and medication,” Maggitti said.

The counseling services on campus offer multiple outreach programs to enlighten students on the various mental health issues affecting young adults.

Screening days for depression are conducted on campus; in addition the counseling center holds an assortment of workshops and group therapy sessions.

The therapists on campus are qualified to help treat existing conditions as well as diagnose students experiencing depression for the first time.

The counseling services on campus often work with off campus therapists to insure the safety and well being of a student, working with providers students have worked with in the past or for future treatment.

The counseling service available at Cabrini College says it wants to create an environment that is safe, comfortable and friendly.

The staff works each day to ensure every student is successful in their life goals, and will continue to do so by taking measures needed to accommodate the growing student population at Cabrini.

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Mallory Terrence

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