Depression. Anxiety. Imposter Syndrome. Eating Disorders. Social Phobias. Specific Phobias. Bipolar Depression. Manic Depression. Self-Fulfilling Prophecies. Homesickness.
These are just some of the many forms of poor mental health that college students go through in their four years pursuing a degree. For some, the degree takes longer because of these obstacles. For others, the degree never happens because their mental health was sacrificed too much.
While Student Affairs practitioners and counselors understand the depth that mental health has within college student populations, the thousand other people who work and live on a college campus do not, will not, or for some reason choose not to acknowledge them as true.
Perhaps the earliest form of college-induced mental illness is homesickness. I personally think homesickness is not taken seriously enough. Even with local students, this disruption of routine and newfound freedom can be troublesome for those who have never been given the ability to use it. Homesickness especially shows when things get tough–expect increased prevalence during Midterms, Finals, before-and-after breaks, and even large events.
The above video does a great job depicting what homesickness looks like in a lot of people. It is not always this “dark cloud following you around”-type situation. For most, it is a constant fear of not finding something as equitable as home, which can be more harmful for mental health than the former.
Homesickness is different for everyone, so remember that it can happen to people whenever it wants. There is no prescribed time for someone to develop homesickness, much like there is no time for someone to develop other mental health problems.
This will be the first of several posts about mental health in college populations because it is such a hot-button topic. No, I am not a licensed mental health counselor in any capacity, but I am a human just like anyone else.