Health: more than just eating your veggies

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     Some define a healthy lifestyle as being active, eating nutritious meals and getting a good night’s sleep. While all of these factors contribute to a healthy lifestyle, we tend to forget about the fundamental factor that influences those listed above: mental health.

     Today’s society is focusing more on mental health/depression and bringing awareness to others to identify warning signs of a mentally unhealthy or depressed individual. Mental health is subjective, and it can be hard to detect in people. When someone breaks their arm, we are able to see the pain the person is in. With depression, the pain is there, but a lot of the time we cannot see it.

     Depression can take many forms, so be on the lookout for the following signs and symptoms that may be indicators of depression: excessive sleepiness, weight gain or weight loss, changes in appetite, social isolation, irritability or thoughts of suicide.

     If you or someone you know has experienced some of the symptoms stated above, depression might be a contributing factor. The best thing we can do for someone who is depressed is get them the help they need. Recognizing that you are depressed is the first step to getting help.

     These warning signs are significant, especially to college students. We need to be aware of the factors that might contribute to depression. A common example might be freshman living away from home for the first time. This is often a stressful milestone in life and independence can be difficult to adapt to.  Keep this in mind and befriend your local college freshman and make them feel at home.

     Financial pressures can also be a contributing factor to depression among college students. As college students, we all know that money is scarce. With the cost of tuition, housing, food, books… (I could go on all day) these expenses can accumulate. To alleviate the financial stressors, ABAC offers a local food pantry. Also, they provide payment plans for tuition. Just remember that these expenses are short term, but your degree lasts forever.

     Contributing factors of depression are individualistic. It is good to be conscious of any contributing factors and how to effectively manage them. There are solutions to problems, and it may feel like the world is weighing down on your shoulders, but help is here. Be aware of the symptoms of depression in yourself and others. A healthy lifestyle starts within.

     If you or someone you know might be struggling with suicidal thoughts call this 24-hour suicidal prevention hotline 1-800-273-8255. Included with your tuition is personal counseling. If you feel you need to talk to someone you can set up an appointment at the Student Development Center at 229-391-5135.

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