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Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Young People
Living with Depression as a Student
As more children and young people are experiencing mental illness than ever before, it’s vital that we recognise the possible signs of depression in order to act early.
Depression symptoms can have a massive impact on daily life, therefore we must listen and learn from those who share their experiences. It is through their stories that we can start to understand the reality of living with depression as a young person.
Living with Depression Symptoms
There is no common cycle to my low mood and depressive episodes which makes it difficult to control and live with. Depression creeps up on me unexpectedly with no real trigger which affects not only me but everyone around me. Some days staying in bed with the curtains drawn is my only option. When I do experience depression symptoms the biggest challenge is often reaching out for help. The idea of feeling like a burden is something that weighs me down so heavily and is often the obstacle between me suffering in silence and opening up to someone.
As a student, living with a mental illness comes with its own unique challenges. Being away from family and home comforts is often a struggle for young people affected by mental health. My support system at university is formed of close friends and academic staff who play a big role in my everyday life.
Recognising the Signs of Depression
On days when my depression symptoms are particularly bad, I tend to isolate myself emotionally. I often become mute in groups of people and avoid interaction and it is a difficult thing to hide. Luckily, I have a few good friends who recognise the signs of depression and know when I’m not feeling myself. It took me a while to let people see me struggling but it has been a huge relief. Having friends who ask if I’m ok and knowing I can answer with “no, but I will be” is actually a great help. It’s reassuring to know that people are looking out for me and they don’t see me as a burden.
Why Support Matters
Throughout my studies at university, I have faced countless periods of low moods and depression. However, with the help of mental health services offered through my university’s Disability Service I am determined not to let my health interfere with my education. They understand how depression symptoms affect learning and I have been offered special circumstances for exams, weekly meetings with a Mental Health Mentor funded by Student Finance and deadline extensions where applicable. Without these mental health services I wouldn’t have made it to the end of my third year.
As a young person, mental illness has shaped almost a quarter of my life. Although my mental health is a part of me, it does not define me. It is a battle I must face every day and without the support from close friends and the services offered at university it would be a life full of loneliness and silent suffering.
I think the idea of being a burden stems from a lack of education about mental health. If a lack of understanding is stopping young people from getting help then it needs to be addressed now. The more people understand mental health, the less stigma will be attached and the more comfortable people will feel opening up about their depression and anxiety.
Many people living with a mental illness do not receive the help and support they need. To save lives we need to better understand mental illness in young people.
Show your support by signing our petition to increase government funding for mental illness research in children and young lives.