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Is my College Student Depressed?: By Empower Counseling.

In 2022, over 77% of college students struggled with moderate to severe psychological distress. Over one third (35%) were diagnosed with anxiety. Over one quarter (17%) were diagnosable with depression. These are alarming and every increasing numbers regarding the mental health of college students. Is my college student depressed?

Why are so many college students depressed?

Covid has definitely played a role as statistics show rates  of anxiety and depression in college students have significantly increased since the pandemic began. There are many reasons why the pandemic has contributed to the recent increase in mental health issues in the college student population.

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Social Anxiety

If a student was socially anxious at all before Covid, being forced to quarantine felt very comfortable to many. Once a student has been in their comfort zone for a while it becomes more difficult to do the types of things that caused increased anxiety. So as anxiety causes the college student to be more afraid to engage in social situations, the student isolates. After isolating for a while, the student will become depressed because even though social situations increase the student’s anxiety level, the student needs connection and belonging with others. This is a basic human need, even though some need more than others, all need some. With a lack of connection and belonging, it is easy to become depressed. This is one reason Covid has contributed to higher rates of anxiety and depression in college students.

Missed Milestones

Many students missed huge milestones because of Covid. Whether it was graduation, prom, Spring Break, travel, if a student can not let go of these missed milestones, it becomes quite difficult to move forward in a healthy way. Feeling “gipped” can lead to living in negative thoughts and not appreciating the positive aspects of life.

Difficult Transition

No matter how well prepared your student is for the college experience, he or she will all of a sudden be responsible for all aspects of life on a daily basis and this can be overwhelming. Most of these student have gone from not having to think about food to putting effort and energy into figuring out when, where, and what for every meal. Your student is charged with keeping a healthy sleep schedule in a space where others in close proximity are not. Your student now has a less structured schedule with more free time. If they do not have exceptional time management skills, they may struggle. College students go from most decisions made for them to having to make so many decisions on the daily. This can be mentally and physically exhausting.

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What does Depression Look like in My College Student? Is my college student depressed

Sleeping more than usual

Staying up very late and sleeping during the day

Negative assessment of self-very down and critical of self

Changes in eating- Either eating less than usual or more than usual


Not wanting to do the things that used to make your student happy

Loss of interest

Loss of Motivation

Hopeless outlook

Suicidal thoughts

Risk Factors that can trigger Depression in your College Student:

Sexual assault or negative sexual experience

A breakup

Drug or Alcohol issues

Stressful life events

Family history

Comparing self to others

Being a perfectionist

Fearing disappointing others with performance

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How do I know if my College Student needs Counseling for Depression?

If you are recognizing any of the symptoms above, it is a good idea to seek help. Even if your student has not been acting this way for long, sooner is better than later. The longer depression lasts the more difficult it can be to move away from it. The longer depression lasts, the more prevalent suicidal thoughts can become.

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Why Empower Counseling for Counseling for My College Student?

At Empower Counseling our team, Kathryn, Savannah, and Marti, are all trained in Acceptance Commitment Therapy for depression. We can help you student move away from depression through uncovering any unhelpful thoughts, and negative views of self, and applying mindfulness techniques with self-compassion. ACT also includes a behavioral approach, so we examine habits and behaviors, and determine which are helpful and which are hurtful to your student. Then we will work on behavior modification, using proven methods. One really important component of ACT that is extremely helpful to college students is the value work. We guide your student toward becoming clear on his or her values so that your student can use his or her values as a compass moving forward.

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How do I get my college student started in depression counseling for college students with Empower Counseling?

It is so easy to get started!

  1. Click here to go to the Home page. Scroll to the bottom of the page and leave us a message.
  2. We will quickly reach back out and get your student set up.
  3. Your student will get to know their knowledgeable and compassionate counselor.

Counseling for college students is not the only service we provide at our Birmingham, Alabama counseling clinic. At Empower Counseling, we provide in person and online counseling for teens, counseling for young adults, and counseling for professionals. We also offer ACT for anxiety counseling, ACT for trauma counseling and PTSD, and ACT for difficult life transitions. Reach out today and we will guide you the rest of the way.

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