With the semester advancing and midterms approaching soon, students can become overwhelmed and stressed, leading to some form of depression or anxiety.

Depression isn’t a normal part of growing older, but it is a treatable medical condition according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

“Depression is something every one has a touch of some time in their life. Some admit it and seek the help, but others want to be in control. Remember, even Moses was a basketcase at one time,” said Brenda Fields, director of Admissions and Referrals at ETMC Behavioral Health.

Sometimes students are at an increased risk for depression because of the drastic changes their lives have taken. The first few months of going to college and being away from home is a difficult transition for some.

Students at times feel as if they are losing their minds. It may be stress or it can be a chemical imbalance.

“If you feel that you are mentally unstable, we have partial hospitalization and out-patient programs at ETMC – Behavioral Health,” Fields said.

Depression is not just having “the blues” or the emotions felt when grieving the loss of a loved one. According to the CDC, red flags can be feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, irritability, restlessness, and loss of interest in activities or hobbies that were once enjoyed.

“At the Andrews Center, we are a community MHMR (Mental health and mental retardation) facility. We have doctors, psychiatrist, therapists, counselors, and nurses on staff,” said Carla Gablin, who handles out-patient services for the Andrews Center in Tyler.

Students may also experience fatigue, decreased energy, difficulty concentrating, remembering details, making decisions, insomnia, early-morning-wakefulness, or excessive sleeping, overeating, or appetite loss. Along with all those feelings of despair and uncertainty also come thoughts of suicide. But treatment is out there for those who need help.

Some things that may be helpful to students who are going through a stressful time may be to improve eating habits, avoid fatigue and sleep deprivation. Also work to maintain mental health and avoid substance use.

“When something bad happens, music is my life,” said Uriel Carbajal, TJC freshman.

If a student has a health or safety concern, they are encouraged to get help. Students should talk to someone they trust like a parent, doctor, nurse, social worker, teacher, counselor or religious leader.

Coping strategies can also become detrimental to a student’s health, making the situation worse. It can be hard for students to deal with stress, so they might turn to drugs and alcohol. Many students seek refuge in marijuana and prescription pills because they believe it’s a way to cope with life.

“There are services available and people who care. The help is there if they really want it,” said Connie Caldwell, chemical dependency counselor of East Texas Center for Alcohol and Drub Abuse (ETCADA).

Depending on the type of drug the student is taking, they may be sent to a detoxification center in Marshall. If students are concerned about a roommate, offer to go with him or her to see a healthcare provider to be diagnosed and treated.

“If a student is seeking help outside of chemical dependency, we usually refer them to the local MHMR,” Caldwell said.

One of the main concerns students have is where they are going to get the money for the check up. At ETCADA, screening and assessment is a service that is offered free of charge. After he screening process, a student may be referred to a center where he or she will go through group and individual therapy. For student without insurance or the ability to pay, the Andrews Center is often the provider of choice as they have a sliding fee scale. Some churches also offer counseling.

“We address each student on a case-by-case basis and attempt to link them with the services they need from TJC or another agency,” said Margaret Rapp, TJC’s ADA student coordinator and counselor.

At TJC, crisis counseling is offered through Support Services. It is brief and solution-focused with licensed professional counselors. There is also a counselor that comes to the Campus Clinic on Monday afternoons. If students have insurance, referrals are made to the appropriate doctors.

“Students are evaluated on a sliding scale based on proof of income and what monthly expenses the student may have. After the evaluation, the student will be assigned a therapist and counselor,” Gablin said.

Contact Campus Safety or community police for safety concerns in the case of an emergency or contact ETMC Behavioral Health at (903) 266-2241 Andrews Center Tyler at (903) 597-1351, ETCADA at 1-800-441-8639 or New Beginnings (903) 581-9472

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