According to ActiveMinds.org, 39 percent of college students experience a significant mental health issue and two-thirds of people ages 18-24 with anxiety or depression do not seek treatment.
Mental health struggles can present themselves in many different ways. A few serious mental health issues known to affect college students are:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Struggles with Identity
While the stigma surrounding mental health matters has been lessened, many people who suffer are still reluctant to seek treatment.
Mental health issues can affect people in different ways. SigEp wants to support our members when they are faced with a situation involving a brother’s mental health. If you have a brother in your chapter who is struggling with a mental health or situational problem, we recommend you show your brother care, concern and support. Encourage him to reach out to his family, and help him seek services at your university’s counseling center or local hospital. You may also call your university’s counseling center or local hospital to obtain local consultation about available resources and how to proceed, as well as other local resources (i.e., AVC, Greek life professional).
Mental health issues and situational crises are extremely treatable, so it’s important to reach out to your brother and encourage him to take advantage of any help that’s available. It can also be useful to invite your counseling center to speak at a chapter meeting about mental health issues and campus resources so brothers know what resources are available before things reach a crisis-point. Should you encounter an emergency, review SigEp's Emergency Management Guidelines and Health Emergency Management Guidelines.
Relieve stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety are part of everyone’s college life. Exams, relationships, and social situations can all become overwhelming at times. Having tools in place to take steps to relieve that stress and anxiety can be powerful for any student. Some stress and anxiety reducing actions to consider include:
- Physical activity - Activity has been shown to release endorphins that can have an almost immediate impact on stress and anxiety. Physical activity can also boost self-confidence and increase our ability to focus and think clearly.
- Sleep changes - Staying up late to study for exams, finish assignments, or to socialize can result in sleep deprivation. This can lead to poor academic performance and mental health issues. Setting and following a sleep schedule can allow your body and mind to recharge and stay focused.
- Diet changes - It's widely known that nutrition plays a key role in a person's physical health. It directly affects emotional well-being, too. When you stick to a diet of healthy food, limiting sugars, you’re setting yourself up for fewer mood fluctuations, an overall happier outlook and an improved ability to focus. Studies have even found that healthy diets can help with symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Meditation and relaxation exercises - Taking a few breaks each day to stretch, meditate, or even picking out a comfortable set of clothing can work to significantly reduce anxiety throughout the day.
- Therapy - Seeking therapy and counseling is often the safest and most effective way to get personalized advice before stress becomes a much more serious problem.
Suicide is the #2 cause of death among young adults ages 20-24, accounting for 18% of the deaths among people in this age group. Sadly, most people who commit suicide feel like it is their only way out of a helpless feeling situation.
If a brother in your chapter has voiced thoughts of suicide, or you think he may be suicidal, it’s important to take action to get help. If you are concerned about his immediate safety or welfare, call 911 or campus police to conduct a welfare check. For information and support, you may call the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text line at text HOME to the Crisis Text line at 741741. If there is a mental health emergency where someone has not been injured, call 988.
In situations where you are concerned someone’s life may be at risk, It is essential that you voice your concern to an AVC member or campus resource.
It is too much responsibility to handle alone and without the help of a trained professional.