Tag Archives: depression

Supporting Mental Health in College

Many young adults feel that the normal pressures of college combined with the pandemic have had a negative effect on their education and significantly harmed their mental health. According to a 2020 survey by BestColleges.com, 95% of college students experienced negative mental health symptoms and 46% reported feeling more isolated and lonelier since the start of the pandemic. Many reported sleeping less, feeling more anxious and depressed, and 32% experienced feelings of hopelessness. With most colleges opening their campuses and returning to in-person learning, efforts must be made to support positive mental health and to help students heal, process, and recover from past events.

Continue reading Supporting Mental Health in College
Depression in college

Dealing with Depression While Away at College: How Parents Can Help

Going away to college is one of the most life changing events that happens in any young adult’s life, and it’s common for many college students to experience feelings of sadness and loneliness when they go away to school.

David Daskovsky, senior psychologist at Yellowbrick, says students often feel sad and lonely, especially during their freshman year, as they are bombarded with an avalanche of changes – everything from separation and loss of family and friends, the pressure of dealing with more rigorous coursework, and the challenge of having to figure out where they fit in socially.

“It’s remarkable anybody makes the transition unscathed,” Daskovsky says.

But for some students, these feelings of sadness and loneliness can turn into major battles with depression that can lead to them dropping out of school or committing suicide.

In fact, a 2009 study from the University of Michigan found that college students with depression were more than twice as likely to drop out of school, and a 2009 report in Professional Psychology showed that more than half of all college students have contemplated suicide.

So if you’re a parent of a college student, how do you know if your son or daughter’s feelings of sadness are normal or are a sign of more serious depression?

Daskovsky says it’s important to keep the lines of communication open so you’re able to tell what’s going on with your son or daughter’s mental health.

“If someone is just homesick, they would be sad, but they would be able to function,” Daskovsky says. “But if somebody who normally would be communicative is not responding to texts or calls, or is not sleeping or losing interest in things that used to be pleasurable, that might be a sign of depression.”

Other signs of depression can include:

  • Not going to class; lack of interest in school
  • Change of appetite or weight
  • Sleeping too much or not enough
  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Extreme anger
  • Thoughts of suicide or dying

Daskovsky says students may also become depressed if they feel like they don’t have a specific direction for where their life is going or if they feel they have failed to live up to their parents’ expectations.

If you suspect that your son or daughter may be depressed at college, here are some things you can do:

  1. Ask Them How They Feel
    To determine how serious your son or daughter’s depression is, ask them to compare their current feelings to how they have felt in the past.
  2. Express Your Concerns Directly
    “Don’t dance around the issue,” Daskovsky says. “Tell your son or daughter that you are concerned about them.”
  3. Encourage Them To Seek Help
    If you determine that your son or daughter is suffering from depression, remind them that they are not alone. Encourage them to seek help from their college’s counseling office.
  4. Tell Someone
    You can also communicate with the school’s the counseling office or your child’s advisor to alert the school of the problem and so someone on campus is aware and paying attention to your son or daughter’s condition.

Get more information about Yellowbrick’s approach to treating depression among college students and young adults.

“Suicide: Responding and Creating Hope”

Yellowbrick is a patron at the upcoming community mental health conference, Suicide: Responding and Creating Hope hosted by Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute for Mental Health Education. The thirteenth annual community conference will be held on Sunday June 1st, 2014 from 10:00am – 3:30pm at Beth Emet The Free Synagogue, 1224 Dempster St. in Evanston, IL. Continue reading “Suicide: Responding and Creating Hope”

The Blues: Depression, Bipolar, and Suicide in Young Adults

By: Dr. David Hamilton, MD, Associate Medical Director, Center for Clinical Neuroscience at Yellowbrick

We all experience “The Blues”. The demands of work, school, love, family and friends are all competing for our limited emotional and mental resources. This ongoing competition can lead to stress and transient sadness. This is a normal part of healthy mood functioning. “The Blues” is how our brains tell us that the demands on our life are outpacing our ability to manage them. While “The Blues” can lead to clinical depression, they are not depression. Continue reading The Blues: Depression, Bipolar, and Suicide in Young Adults

Supporting a Troubled Young Adult Going Off to College

Yellowbrick troubled college

Planning for college can be stressful.  With so many school options to research, majors to consider, and tuition plans to take into account, preparing for the next educational level, and a highly independent one, becomes an equation similar to calculating return on investment.  Weighing heavier than capital gain, the outcome of careful college planning determines future successes, like a rich sense of personal identity and meaningful career path.  Parents want to know how to support their adult children with going off to college, especially young adults facing trouble, challenge, or difficulties. Continue reading Supporting a Troubled Young Adult Going Off to College

Dark Mornings: Time Change or Depression?

Yellowbrick depression - image source: shutterstock

It’s inevitable: The end of daylight saving time.  With winter approaching, things get dark.  Leaves, changing from vibrant green to an autumn spectrum of reds, oranges, and yellows, eventually fade. Dull, dry, crushed and withered, spread across the frosty ground, the leaves no longer serve their purpose.

Without sunlight to fuel growth, life becomes harder to sustain. People also face repercussions caused by the darkness of winter.  After turning the clock back an hour, it’s becoming pitch black when the morning alarm goes off, and not much past dusk when the day’s work is done. Just like the lifeless leaf, people start to feel gray, unexcited, and without ambition when encountering the darkness of winter.  As daylight dwindles, many brace for winter time depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Continue reading Dark Mornings: Time Change or Depression?

Back-to-School: Helping Your Adult Child With Bullying

YB bullying

The start of the school year can be a tough transition.  Piles of homework and busy schedules replace lazy days at the beach as emerging young adults get back to the grind. Heading back-to-school reunites classmates who lost touch after spring.  Many young adults look forward to seeing school acquaintances again, anticipating the good times to be shared.  Others feel uneasy or worried about the socialization of school, as they have fallen victim to bullying in the past.  Help an adult child with bullying before it is time to go back-to-school.

Recognizing adult bullying as a problem

Often times, when people think of a bully, they imagine a tough, big kid on a playground ready to throw punches and steal lunch money from smaller, quiet kids who have a hard time sticking up for themselves.  While this perception certainly does exist, realize that bullying goes on beyond the playground, affecting victims of all ages.  Adult bullying happens all around – on college campuses, in the workplace, on the internet, and among social groups.

Bullying involves aggressive, often repetitive behaviors by someone who perceives to hold power over another. According to Stop Bullying, there are three types of bullying: verbal, social, and physical.  These universal types of bullying may be more exaggerated in adulthood, as adults who bully employ harsh, detrimental tactics like manipulation, isolation, and intimidation.  Adult bullying often falls under a category of peer abuse, whether verbal, physical, emotional, mental, or sexual.

Effects of bullying on young adults

While the effects of bullying range for emerging young adults, signs like low self-image and hindered social and emotional growth may point in the direction that something is not right. Emerging adults tend to completely drop out socially, living in isolation, and shutting out those around them when bullying becomes serious. Unable to confide in parents, family, and friends that were trusted previously, bullied young adults keep their hurt to themselves. Everyday patterns often change, as to avoid situations susceptible to bullying.  For some, this means complete refusal to go to class or work.

Bullying contributes to serious mental health concerns like anxiety or depression. Vulnerable from continual disposal of relentless bullying, emerging adults may mirror the signs of depression, outlined by Yellowbrick.

How to help

Emerging adults often conceal the peer abuse they have endured. Too ashamed to reach out for help, emerging adults may feel neglected when help is not offered. Parents benefit by demonstrating sensitivity with non-judgmental concern, creating a confidential, caring atmosphere when approaching adult children about bullying.

Take the following steps when confronting an emerging adult about bullying:

  • Actively listen to what your adult child has to say
  • Thank your emerging adult for sharing their experience
  • Believe their story without placing judgement or blame
  • Seek out resources together and develop a plan

If bullying has impacted an emerging adult to the point of serious depression, it may be time to involve outside help.  Treating depression can be complicated and is best managed by a team of caring professionals. Yellowbrick explains treatment approaches for depression, including new research supporting methods free of anti-depressants.

Before young adults head off to school for the semester, proactively prepare them to face bullying in an assertive fashion.  Reassure your adult child that they do not deserve to be bullied and that they are not at fault. Teach children to confront bullying, instead of ignoring it, by calmly telling the bully to stop or that they feel disrespected.  Encourage seeking out community help like involving campus security or police if the bullying escalates, persists, or borders abuse.  Most of all, invite your emerging adult to talk with you about anything bothersome going on.  Young adults benefit from open communication with family and friends when dealing with a bully.

For more information on cyberbulling go to https://www.broadbandsearch.net/blog/cyber-bullying-statistics

Minding Wounds – 7th Annual What’s Emerging with Emerging Adults? Free Educational Program September 18, 2013

Yellowbrick eagerly anticipates the 7th Annual What’s Emerging with Emerging Adults? free educational program scheduled for September 18, 2013 from 8-11:45am in Evanston, Illinois. Partnering with The Menninger Clinic of Houston, Texas, Yellowbrick hosts this yearly event in order to provide free continuing education workshops to registered social workers, marriage and family counselors, and clinical counselors who provide psychiatric help for young adults.

Minding Wounds: Individual and Group Approaches to Trauma Recovery, presented by Robbie Bogard, LCSW, Yellowbrick Clinical Director, Group Programs, will focus on treatment techniques for young adults in trauma recovery.  Ms. Bogard designs group therapy approaches used throughout the Trauma Recovery Program at Yellowbrick.  She will share her expertise, including the neurobiological perspective of trauma, highlighting how to integrate with multiple models and perspectives in helping emerging adults process the response to trauma.

Trauma strikes in the form of physical, emotional, mental, or sexual abuse, acts of community or gang violence, exposure to war, natural disaster, loss, and unexpected medical illness or emergency.  Emerging adults having experienced trauma may not be able to put the traumatic event in the past.  Trauma ignites strong reactivity within the body and the mind, causing a fight, flight, or freeze response.  Complex emotional reactions, like being consumed by a state of shock, disbelief, or denial, paired with altered functioning of the central nervous system make it difficult to move forward post-trauma. Commonly, emerging adults withdraw socially and submit to living in fear, anger, or heavy sadness after trauma occurs.  Behavior and thought patterns change, often resulting in unhealthy coping methods like isolating oneself, abusing substances, or causing harm to oneself.

Emerging adults reach positive outcomes by seeking mental health services as a means of intervention post-trauma.  A multi-faceted approach, treating the psychological and neurobiological repercussions caused by trauma, like the Trauma Recovery Program at Yellowbrick, may help an emerging adult process the mental, emotional, and cognitive aftermath caused by trauma.  With program options including yoga and art therapy, Yellowbrick clinicians encourage emerging adults to be mindful as they begin to understand how trauma has shifted their behaviors, thoughts, and response to stress.

Who Should Attend?

Registered social workers, marriage and family counselors, and clinical counselors who provide psychiatric help for young adults who have experienced trauma are encouraged to participate in the 7th Annual What’s Emerging with Emerging Adults? Free Educational Conference scheduled for September 18, 2013.

Continuing education credits (CEU) are available for a service fee of $25.  Find out more and register here.

Location: One Rotary Center, 1560 Sherman Avenue, 3rd Floor, Evanston, IL 60201.

Peer Relationships & Loss: Tragedy

Yellowbrick peer relationships and loss - photo source: Shutterstock

Peer relationships play an integral role as young adults develop their sense of self. When tragedy strikes, like physical, emotional, mental, or sexual trauma, peer relationships tend to shift, transforming the social and personal development of young adults.  Social, emotional, and peer functioning may be disrupted to a point that professional help is needed to get back on track.

Healthy Peer Relationships Promote Self-Discovery

In healthy relationships, peers equally exchange constructive criticism, develop positive norms and values, and help each other in times of need. Young adults invest in peer relationships as a way to learn about themselves, enable their interests, and secure their emerging adult identities.  Richer, closer relationships shape young adults’ personal constructs, influencing decisions, drives, and self-identity.

For example, the captain of the college football team clearly envisions his future playing professionally with encouragement from his teammates. Driven by his ultimate goal, he lives, breathes, and dreams football with friends who keep him challenged on the field.  As the captain of the team, his peers look up to him with respect and he is admired across campus.  He feels secure in his role as a leader and confident in his choices, collaborating with peers who reinforce his decisions and interests.

Tragedy Changes Peer Relationships and Sense of Self

Unexpected tragedy may seem to drastically alter all aspects young adult’s world.   Usually, peers rely on each other for support. Yet, in the face of tragedy, peers may not have the experience, maturity, availability, or outlets to sustain the relationship. Tragedy stirs up strong emotions including worry, fear, or guilt. Peers may not know what to say or do for a friend in need.  Some cannot manage the added stress and choose to distance themselves from the relationship.  Peers’ reactions may not live up to the expectations of those directly impacted by tragedy. Young adults impacted by tragedy may treat peers poorly, displacing feelings of anger, distress, and rage on those who don’t deserve it.  Tragedy often results in severed relationships. When peer relationships diverge, the social development of young adults may digress.

Tragedy often shakes a young adult’s self-experience, incurring feelings of victimization and lack of identity.  With intense emotions and possible physical set-backs, young adults suffering tragedy may have a hard time reestablishing themselves, their interests, and goals in life.  The behavior of young adults, post-tragedy, may convert to impulsive or risky as unhealthy coping styles replace healthy habits.

What happens to the captain of the team when he sustains a serious injury, leaving him unable to pursue his football dreams? Perhaps his teammates don’t have the time to visit him as the practice schedule remains demanding. When they finally stop by, his peers have no idea how to respond as they watch their captain cry.  Or, the campus forgets his existence as the next quarterback in line quickly replaces him as captain.

His sense of self shattered when his focus shifted to cope with tragedy, his aspirations taken away, he may have no clue how to move forward and falls into a serious state of depression.  He may live in isolation, unable to sustain peer relationships.

Welcoming Professional Help

When tragedy impairs social, emotional, and peer functioning, young adults benefit from welcoming professional help from doctors, counselors, and psychologists. The group of clinicians at the Trauma Recovery Program at Yellowbrick, addresses the complex impact of tragedy by practicing a multi-faceted approach aimed to re-connect the broken constructs as a result of tragedy. Young adults engaging in group therapy find their start in rebuilding peer relationships. Art and yoga therapy intertwine to deliver mindfulness and peace to the tragedy, while trauma education strengthens young adults’ resiliency.

Working through deep emotions caused by tragedy and regaining personal identity following a traumatic occurrence should be supported by family, friends, and a network of resources.  When young adults secure help in processing the impact of tragedy, their outcomes improve. Young adults may find the outlets to reestablish themselves, and return to healthy social development with strong peer relationships.