9 ways that college students can meet people

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

Some people think that humans by nature are social beings. That we need some degree of social connection/interaction with others to maintain our own well-being, manage stress, happiness, and overall emotional health.

Each person may need to tailor the amount and type of social interaction based on their personality, needs, and available options.

Is there any research on social support and mental health of college students?

There are many studies, some of them have found the following:

  • In one study of college students, lower perceived social support was found to have a 6 fold increase in depression risk relative to higher perceived social support (1).
  • Another study found that peer support benefits mental health (2).
  • In another study, social support from family and friends jointly influenced about 80 % of the effect of life satisfaction and hopelessness on drinking alcohol (3).
  • Finally, a study of about 1200 students found that students with higher social support had better mental health (4).

What 9 possible ways for college students to meet people, deal with loneliness, and increase social support?

  1. Check out the OSU campus student organizations page for organizations such as Active Minds, Peers Reaching out, Boo-Radley and others.
  2. OSU-Rec Sports has various play options.
  3. Check out over 1300 different student organizations focused on different interests/hobbies
  4. Consider relevant courses based around sports, or other hobbies/interests.
  5. Volunteer opportunities at OSU: https://engage.osu.edu/for-alumni-and-friends/volunteer-opportunities.html
  6. Therapy treatment Groups at CCS
  7. Support Groups in the community: National alliance on Mental Illness, Hands On Central Ohio 211.
  8. There are pros and cons of social media and online support communities.
  9. https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/social-support-campus/

Any additional resources?

Think of current or past friendships, relationships, etc. that have been meaningful/supportive.  Can you think of a way to periodically connect with them in person, online or by phone?

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

References:

  1. Hefner, J., & Eisenberg, D. (2009). Social support and mental health among college students. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 79(4), 491-499. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0016918
  2. O’Connell MJ, Sledge WH, Staeheli M, Sells D, Costa M, Wieland M, Davidson L. Outcomes of a Peer Mentor Intervention for Persons With Recurrent Psychiatric Hospitalization. Psychiatr Serv. 2018 Apr 16:appips201600478. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201600478. [Epub ahead of print]
  3. Catie CW Lai and Cecilia MS Ma. The mediating role of social support in the relationship between psychological well-being and health-risk behaviors among Chinese university students. Health Psychology Open.  https://doi.org/10.1177/2055102916678106 First Published November 8, 2016
  4. Tahmasbipour, A. Taheri. A Survey on the Relation Between Social Support and Mental Health in Students Shahid Rajaee University. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. Volume 47, 2012, Pages 5-9, ISSN 1877-0428, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.06.603.

 

Study: Male college students might perceive depression differently

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS PsychiatristMovember MenDEpression option 2

In a recent national survey, about 30% of college students reported that, in a 12 month period, they felt so depressed that they it impacted their functioning (1).

But only about 7% of males and 12% of female college students were under the care of a health professional for treatment of their depression (1).

Other studies have shown that men tend to under use health care services in general. Men also have a shorter lifespan than women (4).

While there are many reasons why so few male college students with depression are getting treatment, a recent study had intriguing findings.
What did the study involve?
1577 undergraduate students ages 18–24 responded to an online survey.
The survey assessed symptoms of depression and feelings of sadness, depression, and suicidal ideation experienced in the past 2 weeks.

They also asked about students’ perceptions about how common these are among other students.

What did the results show?

Most students, and male college students in particular, underestimated the sadness and depression experienced by other college students.

Students with feelings of sadness, depression, and suicidal ideation in the past 2 weeks overestimated students with similar problems.

What might this suggest?

This study suggests that students who are not depressed might not be as good at noticing depression among their peers.

Increasing awareness might help.

What is being done to increase awareness about Men and mental health?

At OSU we are putting together a series of events for men and mental health, the (Men+November = Movember),  Mo-vember Men’s mental health campaign, during the month of November.

Know the signs, and encourage others you know to reach out to men about their health. If you are concerned, encourage them to seek help.

Helpful resources, click on the links below for:

Anonymous Mental health screening.
Suicide screening prevention.
Movember
Men’s mental health at National Institute of Mental Health

Movember National Men’s Health Campaign
Article about how depression might impact men differently.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.
References:
1. American College Health Association. (2014). American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II: Reference Group Executive Summary Spring 2014.
2. American College Health Association (2012). American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II: Reference Group Executive Summary Spring 2012.
3. Geisner IM, et al. College Students’ Perceptions of Depressed Mood: Exploring Accuracy and Associations. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 2015 American Psychological Association 2015, Vol. 46, No. 5, 375–383.
4. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data_access/Vitalstatsonline.htm