Hey! College students!


Do you like getting free stuff?

Sweet! Did you know that you can get FREE THERAPY at your college counseling center?

Do you have any idea what therapy costs for people who are not in college? Like $120/hour.

At the campus counseling center, you pay zero dollars! And you don't even have to deal with the Labyrinth of Health Insurance Claims!

Try to sign up at the beginning of the semester before everyone has their nervous breakdowns.


One in four college students struggle with mental health problems. (Is something wrong with our society? I think something might be wrong with our society. Hmm...if only some young and energetic persons could rally and overthrow the capitalist oligarchy that is crushing our collective spirits. Just throwin' the idea out there.)

Sometimes the campus counseling center gets booked up and it is hard to get a timely appointment. I have professor friends who have walked struggling students over to the counseling center, only to find that an appointment was unavailable. (This is outrageous and unacceptable and universities should be ashamed of themselves. Colleges talk a big game about "student success," yet neglect to fully fund the most essential forms of support.)

It really sucks to work up the courage to reach out for support, only to find a door shut in your face. However: don't lose hope. Support is still out there. Most colleges offer support groups, which may be easier to find a place in. You may be thinking: support groups are full of weirdos. But look into your soul: are you too not a weirdo?

(Your actual support group will likely not include sentient rainbow chard. Unless you are really, really, lucky.)

I am afflicted by the isolation that prevails in our age. Also the cafeteria food is bad.

There may also be free or low-cost counseling services within your community. Even if the counseling center isn't offering appointments, they should be able to direct you to community resources.

Some colleges offer a crisis line that can connect you with immediate support. Please put the crisis line number in your phone. Even if you never need it, it will be handy to have it with you in case you ever need to give the number to a struggling friend.

These OTHER HOTLINES can also provide support.

Speaking of phone calls: have you told your parents what is going on with you? They may be able to get you private therapy or psychiatry through their insurance. Even if your parents are awkward about dealing with mental health stuff (it can be a generational thing), I promise you: your parents want to know that you are struggling, so that they can help you in whatever way they know how.

College isn't always awesome. It can be extremely lonely. Moving away from home is one of the most stressful things you can do. It can seem like everyone else is having an amazing and fulfilling college experience when you are stuck feeling awkward in your room. Instagram is probably lying. Other college students are lonely, too.

Isolation and loneliness contribute to depression. But making new friends can feel really awkward (especially after COVID). I recommend getting involved in a student group on campus, like a social justice club or a club for LGBTQ students or a hiking club. (Are there hiking clubs? I have no idea. I went to college twenty years ago.) It is way less awkward to make new friends when you are doing an activity you both like or working toward a goal you both care about.

Also: I believe that you are strong enough to endure some awkwardness. A temporary feeling of awkwardness is the price you have to pay for making friends. And having friends feels really, really, good.

Also: how you feel in college does not predict how you will feel for the rest of your adult life. While I had some wonderful experiences in college, I also spent a lot of time being manic and depressed (mostly depressed). At times, I felt direction-less. I remember lying on my bed and thinking: if I can't handle my life as a college student, how am I going to handle actual adult life in the unsheltered world? But I did. And my life outside of the college bubble ended up being more rich and fulfilling than my time in college.

Interestingly, my most transformative college experience happened outside the college campus, at a halfway house for women in addiction and recovery.

Even in the hard times, I maintained my dedication to fashion. (All the cool kids wore sleeping bags.)

In conclusion: reach out for help, tell your parents what you are going through, and muster the courage to endure the awkwardness of making new friends. And hopefully you will enjoy some of your college classes, too! (I teach college, so I really hope that you do.)

Bipolar Bear & the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Health Insurance: a Fable for Grown Ups is a graphic novel about a bipolar bear who gets lost in the Labyrinth of Health Insurance Claims.

When Mystical Creatures Attack! is a novel about an idealistic teacher who has a nervous breakdown and corresponds with her former students from an inpatient psychiatric facility.

Copyright 2022 - Kathleen Founds - Depression Whackamole