Opinion: Depression in college students is real

Last week as I was sitting in the Mattress Factory, I overheard a group of gamers conversing over the death of Washington State University backup quarterback, Tyler Hilinski. I am a Twitter-fanatic, so I had been familiar with this news from the constant noise through UW social media. In their conversation, the guys were conversing back and forth, saying how Hilinski only committed suicide for attention. How it “was odd” for a quarterback of an above average team to have depression. Although I won’t go into the nitty gritty of their conversation — after all, everyone is entitled to their own opinion — I will say this: Depression and suicide are not something to take lightly, especially with college students.

The immense pressure of being a college student is overwhelming at times. Finding the right time management skills to juggle work, studying, a social life and family, having a hobby and actually attending classes, can be extremely challenging. Sometimes, the feeling of not achieving enough can be disheartening — and giving up feels like the only solution.

Plus, the statistics say it all. According to Amy Novotney of the American Psychological Association, one-third of college students in the U.S. have trouble with their education — and their life in general — due to their anxiety and depression. In addition, about 30 percent of students who have actively sought help in mental services have considered and/or attempted suicide.

We hear people say in disbelief, “Oh, people who talk about depression and suicide are faking it,” “they just want attention,” or better yet, “I’ll believe it when I see it — it doesn’t seem like anything’s wrong.” But just according to these statistics, when does it end? When are we going to be able to trust people’s emotions and words, and actually help them? I mean, these are the facts!

Instead of being ignorant to our peer’s emotions, we should be empowering them. As college students, we all know what it’s like to feel the weight of the world bearing on us, and it is easy to feel alone sometimes. Our college career is one of the most critical points in our lives, as we each have our own issues to bear. We need to start supporting each other.

Here’s a New Year’s resolution we as the UW community should all make: Rather than fighting people with depression, let’s try to combat depression itself. If you or someone you know is battling depression, there are services to help. UWT has amazing and free services located right on campus. At the Student Counseling Center, you can schedule one-on-one time with a counselor to reduce stress, gather tips on time management and much more. The Student Counseling Center is found in MAT 354, and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Take advantage of our free benefits.

On behalf of The Ledger, rest in peace to Cougar Tyler Hilinski. Our thoughts are with his family and the WSU community during this troubling time.

ILLUSTRATION BY BRUNO MARQUEZ
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