College Student’s Guide

to Navigating Depression

Emergency Resources

If you are currently experiencing suicidal ideation or feel you need immediate help, please reach out to an emergency hotline, such as 988.

Other resources are available further down in this page (link).

National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

Call or text 988 for access to a crisis counselor and emergency mental health services.

Call or Text 988

Whether you’re a first-time student or finishing your final semester, going back to school after a long summer break can trigger mental health issues that the summer left behind. In fact, a 2021 survey of college students by Statista found that around 41% of students reported symptoms of depression during their time at school. Depression can impact every aspect of student life.

If you are struggling with depression this semester, know that you’re not alone. From on-campus groups to 24/7 hotlines, there are many student-friendly depression resources that you can turn to for support.

Is it Depression?

While it’s normal to experience stress and confusion during the first few weeks of school, feeling like you’re barely staying afloat may be a sign that depression is impacting your educational experience. How can you know for sure if you’re experiencing depression?

Depression Symptoms

Major depressive disorder, also known as clinical depression, is a common mood disorder that causes feelings of sadness, withdrawal, and loss of interest or joy in normal activities.

Symptoms of depression can interfere with your ability to perform everyday functions. If these symptoms sound familiar, you may be experiencing clinical depression.

Are You Just Tired, or Is It Depression? – Constant fatigue is one of the leading symptoms of major depressive disorder.

5 Signs of Depression You Shouldn’t Ignore – If you think that you or someone you love has depression, don’t ignore these telltale symptoms.

Jenny struggled with depression for a decade before seeking treatment at Serenity Mental Health Centers.

Types of Depression

While all depressive disorders are identified by a persistent feeling of sadness, depression can come in different forms.

Treatment-Resistant Depression

If you feel that your depression has not improved or has worsened since trying medication or therapy, you may have treatment-resistant depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is related to changes in seasons.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a form of depression experienced by mothers during pregnancy or after childbirth.

Resources for Comorbid Conditions

Comorbidity, or having two illnesses at the same time, can muddy the water when it comes to treating depression.

Identifying comorbid mental health conditions can help you receive more accurate treatment and increase your chance of remission.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder with symptoms of inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.

ADHD Testing for Adults – ADHD is usually diagnosed during childhood, but for some, ADHD can begin or continue untreated into adulthood.

7 Signs of ADHD in Adults – If your daily life suffers from these symptoms, consider scheduling an appointment with a psychiatrist for adult ADHD testing.


Anxiety disorders can cause worried/obsessive thoughts, panic attacks, irritability, and other physical symptoms.

5 Ways to Tell You Have Anxiety – Occasional worry is normal, but constant, uncontrollable fear may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that develops after experiencing a dangerous or upsetting event.

10 Signs of PTSD You Should Know – If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing PTSD in the wake of a traumatic event, here are a few common PTSD symptoms to watch out for.

Trauma vs. PTSD – While PTSD is a direct result of trauma, not all traumatic events lead to PTSD. Learn more about the key differences between PTSD and normal trauma responses.

How to Be Trauma-Informed in Conversations – Here are a few ways you can have an empathetic conversation with someone who struggles with PTSD.

Importance of an Accurate Mental Health Diagnosis

Getting an accurate, professional mental health diagnosis is the first step to effective depression treatment.

Professional Diagnosis Resources

Reach out to a professional today to schedule a consultation or appointment for a professional mental health diagnosis.

Why is an Accurate Mental Health Diagnosis Important? – Are you on the fence about getting a professional diagnosis? Here are a few reasons why it’s so important to get diagnosed by a mental health provider.

Self-Diagnosis Resources

Self-diagnosis can be inaccurate without seeking professional help, and you may endanger yourself by delaying treatment. Use these resources to better understand your mental health until you can receive a professional diagnosis.

Mental Health America’s Self-Help Tools – MHA offers mental health screening tools to help identify signs of mental illness before meeting with a mental health professional for a clinical diagnosis and treatment.

NIMH Brochures and Fact Sheets – Visit NIMH’s website to view brochures and fact sheets on mental health disorders to inform and educate patients and their families.

How to Cope with Depression

Coping with depression can be difficult, but it is possible. These resources can give you a starting point for healthy depression management.

Healthy vs Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

When you’re on your own and dealing with poor mental health, you will naturally find ways to cope with your symptoms and negative feelings. However, there are healthy and unhealthy ways to cope with depression.

Keep in mind that while it can be overwhelming to consume lists like these, you don’t need to take on everything all at once.

Pick one thing to improve on and focus on that until you feel comfortable enough to take on another goal.

31 Coping Skills for Depression – Learn about healthy and unhealthy ways to cope with depression, as well as tips to implement into your daily life.

Caring for Your Mental Health During Finals Week – Don’t let your mental health suffer at the end of the semester. Here are a few tips to help you prioritize your mental health during finals week.

6 Positive Impacts of Gratitude – There are many ways that gratitude helps improve your mental health and overall quality of life. Visit this blog post to learn more about the positive mental impacts of gratitude.

Lifestyle and Self-Care Tips

The classic college student’s recipe of sleep deprivation, poor diet, endless studying, and lack of exercise is the perfect environment for depression. Making small adjustments in your daily habits and self-care can go a long way in improving your mental health.

Nutrition and Mental Health – Nutrition and mental health go hand-in-hand, and some foods can negatively affect your mood and cognitive function. Read this blog post to learn more about how a healthy diet can improve your mental health.

The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise – Learn more about how exercise can improve your mental health and help you deal with depression.

How Hydration Improves Mental Health – Visit this blog post to read about the mental and emotional benefits of hydration.

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep – A healthy sleep schedule is vital for your mental health. Visit this article to learn how sleep affects your mental health and how to improve your sleep habits.

5 Tips for Setting and Keeping Mental Health Goals – Setting and reaching goals is beneficial to your mental health but trying to achieve unrealistic goals can cause stress and anxiety. Utilize these tips to help you set and keep goals for your mental health this semester.

Handling the Challenges of College Life

Stressors can add up quickly when you’re a college student struggling with depression. Use these resources to navigate the curveballs that college life throws at you.

How To Successfully Manage Your Relationship and Studies in College – Balancing an education and a relationship at the same time is difficult. This blog post gives tips on how to give equal attention to your studies and your partner.

How To Deal with Difficult Professors – A negative relationship with your professor can affect your academic behavior and mental health. Here are a few ways to deal with this stressful situation in a positive way.

How to Communicate with Professors – Communication between students and professors is key to a successful class experience. Browse this post to learn a few tips for effective classroom communication.

How to Juggle Work, School, and Your Mental Health – When you’re a full-time student, it’s hard to juggle work, school, a social life, and positive mental health. Visit this blog post to learn more about habits you can pick up to help ease your stress.

How to Find Support for Dealing with Depression

For new college students, leaving home for the first time and moving into an unfamiliar environment is a lonely experience, especially when you’re struggling with a mental illness. Don’t deal with your depression by yourself. Use these resources to find support for your mental health.

How to Open Up About Mental Health Challenges with Friends and Family

Talking with people you trust about your mental illness is the healthy alternative to isolation or bottling up your emotions. Whether you’re struggling to open up to your loved ones or you need advice on reaching out to a friend who’s in a rough place, these resources can help you start an open conversation about mental health.

How to Open Up About Mental Health to Friends and Family – Visit this article for advice on talking with your friends and family about your mental health.

What to Say to Someone Who Is Depressed – Here are a few tips on what to say to someone who is depressed, as well as some hurtful statements that should be avoided.

Seeking Help for a Mental Health Problem – This guide discusses the first steps to opening up to your loved ones and seeking treatment for mental illness.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Supporting Somone Through a Mental Health Crisis – These do’s and don’ts offer a guide for showing compassion and understanding during a mental health crisis.

Finding a Support Group

Mental health support groups come in different forms. You can choose groups that meet virtually or physically based on your location and preferences.

Student-led mental health groups – Learn why student-led mental health support groups can positively affect students’ mental health.

Support Group Central – This platform offers a directory of support groups for mental health and other topics.

NAMI Support Groups – NAMI offers local support groups for people with mental health conditions and their family members.

Men’s Group – Men’s Group is an online community designed for men in need of healthy mental health support.

MHA Support Community – Mental Health America can assist you in finding local support groups and has its own support community through Inspire which enables individuals to connect on a variety of issues and topics related to mental health.

Mental Health Resources on Campus

There are many mental health resources available on campus for students who are struggling with mental illness.

Mental Health Groups

Student-led mental health organizations such as NAMI On Campus offer on-campus education, support, and services for students living with mental illness.

Counseling Centers

Most universities have a college counseling that offers mental health support and other health services for students. Information about a school’s counseling center can usually be found on the school’s website.

Disability Centers

Disability centers are a vital asset for students with disabilities and can be a helpful resource with mental health issues related to a disability.

Helpful Apps, Websites, and Hotlines

Whether you need to talk to someone about your mental health or you’re looking for a few simple tips to make your depression more manageable, these resources offer a variety of information and support for students with depression.

Student Mental Health Foundation – SMHF works to fund student mental health services, provide students direct treatment, and form student mental health chapters on campuses across the region. – This website offers information, resources, and support for those struggling with mental health disorders.

The National Mental Health Hotline – This hotline provides free and confidential 24/7 mental health assistance. 866-903-3787

SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator – Find mental health treatment facilities near you with SAMHSA’s confidential and anonymous treatment locator.

ULifeline – Call 800-273-TALK or text START to 741-741 for free, confidential mental health support.

Mental Health Apps to Help You Take Back Your Life – Browse this list of mental health apps designed to help you communicate with your doctor, connect with sources of advice and support, and/or speak with an online counselor.

HelpGuide – HelpGuide has tools and information to help you improve your mental health and make healthy lifestyle changes.

Mental Health Resources for Marginalized Groups

Everyone deserves equal mental health accessibility. These resources offer mental health treatment and support for all genders, races, sexualities, and identities.

Resources for Women

Depression in Women – Learn about depression in women (including causes, symptoms, and treatment) from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Office on Women’s Health – OWH focuses on women’s health and offers resources, advice, and support for women’s mental health.

Coa – Coa is an all-women launched emotional fitness gym with online classes led by therapists.

Resources for Racial or Ethnic Minorities

Mental Health America BIPOC Mental Health – This comprehensive guide from MHA offers mental health resources to members of BIPOC communities.

The Steve Fund – The Steve Fund promotes mental health and emotional support for young people of color.

WeRNativ – WeRNative provides health resources for Native youth, by Native youth, including mental health support and content.

The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation – This foundation offers resources, connections, and support in the hopes of ending the stigma around mental health in the Black community.

The Focus on You – Run by a Latina therapist, this inspirational blog contains tips on self-care and mental health.

Asian Mental Health Collective – AMHC provides accessible mental health resources and support for Asian communities worldwide.

Resources for the LGBTQ+ Community

Trans Lifeline – The Trans Lifeline gives trans people connections to community support and mental health resources. Call 1-877-565-8860 to speak to a trans/nonbinary peer operator.

The Trevor Project – This organization provides information and support for the mental health of LGBTQ youth and young adults. You can also contact The Trevor Project’s TrevorLifeline at 1-866-488-7386.

LGBTQ and ALL – Visit LGBTQ and ALL’s website to view a mental health directory for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Resources for the Neurodiverse Community

Neurodiversity Hub – Neurodiversity Hub offers mental health resources and support for neurodivergent college students.

Neurodiversity Network – Neurodiversity Network features resources for members of the neurodiverse community, including tips on neurodivergent self-care and educational connections.

Autistic Self Advocacy Network – Run by and for autistic people, ASAN encourages young autistic people to take control of their futures with mental health, educational, and leadership resources.

Suicide Prevention Resources

If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health-related crisis and need support, contact one of these suicide prevention resources:

National Suicide & Crisis Line

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline – Formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the 988 lifeline provides support for people experiencing suicidal thoughts or emotional distress.

It’s free, confidential, and available 24/7 anywhere in the country.

CALL 988

Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741 for free, 24/7 crisis counseling.

SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline – Call or text 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish) to speak to a trained crisis counselor.

SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) – SAVE is dedicated to suicide prevention and offers support to individuals in crisis. You can also text SAVE to 741741 to speak with a crisis counselor.

Covenant House – Covenant House provides intervention, support and referrals for youth and adults in crisis.

The JED Foundation – This nonprofit organization works to prevent suicide by providing young adults with resources and mental health support.

How to Find Professional Help

If your depression has escalated to the point that you are falling behind in your classes, it may be time to seek out professional help with a therapist or a mental health provider.

Finding a Therapist

Professional counseling can be a helpful tool for students to talk through their symptoms and stressors.

Inclusive Therapists – This website provides a directory of culturally responsive and identity affirming therapists for people in marginalized communities.

Psychology Today – Psychology Today offers resources for therapy and other mental health related topics.

Finding a Provider for Other Treatment Options

At Serenity Mental Health Centers, our team of dedicated mental health professionals can help you take back your life from depression.

How a Psychiatrist Can Help You with Your Mental Health – If you are struggling with depression, meeting with a psychiatrist can offer a solution.

How Can You Benefit from a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner? – Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners increase access to mental health services by offering expertise and high-quality care.

Treatment Options for Depression

There are many treatment options for depression. While talk therapy and medication management are common options, Serenity also offers advanced treatments such as TMS treatment and ketamine infusion to help create a personalized treatment plan.


How to Get the Most out of Therapy – If you want to go to therapy but have no idea what to talk about, here are a few tips on getting the most out of your therapy session.


Symptom relief is possible with medication management, but it’s important to find one that works for you.

At Serenity, your psychiatrist will work with you to find the most effective medication for your form of depression.

TMS Treatment

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an FDA approved, non-invasive treatment with long-term results and a high rate of success with patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression. TMS is very safe with minimal to no side-effects, and completely drug-free.

What to Expect During TMS – If you’re interested in how TMS works, visit this blog post to learn more about what to expect during a TMS appointment.

How TMS Therapy Helped a Young College Student Take Back Her Life – Read about a young college student struggling with depression and anxiety who found relief with TMS therapy.

TMS as an Alternative to Therapy – If you have struggled to find relief through therapy or other treatment options, TMS treatment for depression may be the answer for success.

In this video, Serenity psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer French provides an easy-to-understand analogy for TMS.

Bree’s years-long struggle with depression and anxiety worsened after she started college. TMS helped her overcome her symptoms.

While in college, Mitchell struggled to find his motivation. After trying other treatment options with no luck, he came to Serenity and found his solution: TMS therapy.

Ketamine Infusion Treatment

Ketamine infusion offers immediate, short-term relief from symptoms of depression. At Serenity, this treatment is administered by IV at a low, safe dose. Patients are monitored by a licensed practitioner throughout the session to ensure their comfort and safety.

What to Expect From Ketamine Infusion – If you’re interested in the benefits of ketamine and whether it’s the right option for your depression, visit this blog post to learn more about what to expect during ketamine treatment.

5 Ways Ketamine Works on the Brain to Reduce Depression – In this blog post, learn more about the ways ketamine affects the brain to reduce symptoms of severe depression.

Artist Jeff Cox struggled to find joy in his work when his depression overcame him. With the help of ketamine infusions at Serenity, he soon reclaimed his passion for art.

Watch Serenity’s Chief Medical Director, Dr. TeeJay Tripp, explain the use and benefits of ketamine therapy for mental health treatment.

A Note from

Serenity Mental Health Centers

Contact Us

Don’t let your depression stand in the way of finishing your education.

At Serenity, we’re here to be a resource for you. If you’re looking for help with depression diagnosis, treatment options, or to talk to a professional about your best options, our team is prepared to help. Call us today or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment.

Request Appointment