‘Affordable Colleges Online’ created this guide to inform college students (and their friends and families) on the various on-campus and online resources they can use should a mental health concern arise:
In any given year, 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. are affected by depression. Depression is a brain disorder that affects how you feel, think, and act. People with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms. The severity, frequency, and duration of symptoms vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness.
Signs and symptoms include:
> Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
> Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
> Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
> Irritability, restlessness
> Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
> Fatigue and decreased energy
> Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
> Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
> Overeating, or appetite loss
> Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.
> Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
There are different treatment options that can help, which may include medication, therapy, or combination of both. With effective treatment, the symptoms of depression will gradually get better.
If you are in crisis or thinking about harming yourself, or know someone who is, tell someone who can help immediately.
> Do not leave your friend or relative alone, and do not isolate yourself.
> Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room to get immediate help, or ask a friend or family member to help you do these things.
> Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor.
For more resources and information on depression and other mental health disorders, please visit:
Online Mental Health Screening
The Mental Health Association of Minnesota has partnered with Screening for Mental Health, Inc. to provide free online screening for mood and anxiety disorders. This anonymous online assessment screens for depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. This screening is not a substitute for a diagnosis, but it will help determine whether or not a consultation from a health professional would be helpful. If you want to follow-up with a health provider, but have limited or no health insurance, MHAM can help find a sliding fee clinic or other medical coverage options. To speak with an advocate, call 651-493-6634 or 800-862-1799.
Get Help. Get Well.
Get Help Get Well helps people understand what to expect when seeking mental health care for the first time. Get Help Get Well includes information on…
> The first steps to obtaining care; healthcare providers to see initially; and factors to consider when seeking a healthcare provider.
> What may occur in the initial appointment; questions that may be asked by the health professional; and questions the patient may want to ask their health provider
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) is the leading peer-directed national organization focusing on the two most prevalent mental health conditions, depression and bipolar disorder. DBSA provides online resources and peer support groups.
Support Groups in Minnesota
You are not alone out there. Utilize support groups to share mental health needs and concerns affecting your life and the lives of others.
MHAM Sponsored Support Groups: DBSA Support Groups (Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance)
Other Minnesota Support Groups and Activity Centers
National Institute of Mental Health
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) provides the latest research and information on depression and other mental health conditions.
MentalHealth.gov provides information and resources on mental illness for people experiencing a mental health disorder, family and friends, and other members of the community.
Every month I participate in the Regions Hospital Patient and Family Advisory Council. At our monthly meetings we discuss issues specific to the experience of mental health patients at the hospital, but we also spend time addressing broader issues related to mental health. The advisory council gives feedback not only on the construction and organization of Regions’ new mental health building, but also on patient policy and staff trainings. As part of this, the council got an advance preview of Healthpartners’ Make It Ok campaign last year.
You may have seen some of the Make It Ok campaign posters in bus shelters and on billboards. They typically feature two people facing each other with a blank dialogue bubble creating a barrier between them. The message is that people’s unwillingness to talk about mental health furthers stigma. At the bottom of the poster is a website: www.makeitok.org
Talking about mental health is complicated. Because so much cultural baggage is tied up in our notion of mental health, folks are resistant to identify with the concept or to even bring it up. When I am contacted by friends or family members who are concerned about someone they know, much of our conversation revolves around how to respectfully communicate with someone who may be experiencing a mental illness. When I am contacted by individuals with mental illnesses, much of our conversation revolves around how to be a good self-advocate in a stigmatizing environment. Frequently I’m asked if I know of resources the individual can pass on to family members who know little about mental illness.
The Make It OK website is a great starting point for friends and family. At the website you can browse through different phrases family and friends can use to bring up mental health respectfully. It contains basic information about mental illnesses and tips for how to engage with folks who may be experiencing a crisis.
If you live with a mental illness and want your family, friends and community to learn more about mental health and stigma, check out www.makeitok.org. It may be a useful resource for you. But if you need more information than the website offers, or if you have questions that are more complex, you can also contact an individual advocate for support by calling MHAM at 651-493-6634.