University offers help for depression

Tieran Lewis

Depression and anxiety affects more than 50 million people a year in the United States and college students are no exception.

Symptoms of these mood disorders can be seen as early as freshman year.

“Fifty percent of the students that visit for services come with symptoms of depression,” said Pamela Farer-Singleton, chief psychologist of University Health Services at the DeWeese Health Center. “A lot of the depression has to do with interpersonal relationships.”

Problems adjusting to a new school, a new home and new people are other reasons new students come in to her office.

John Akamatsu, director of the Psychological Clinic in Kent Hall, said getting help early is critical to a student’s success.

“Clearly they’re not going to be able to function as effectively as they could if they were able to deal with those issues,” he said. “They might end up having to drop out of school.”

Symptoms of depression include sadness, decreased energy, changes in appetite, feelings of hopelessness, difficulty concentrating and excessive crying.

Farer-Singleton said students do not have to deal with these issues on their own.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she said. “Find someone you feel is trustworthy – like your residential staff – who’s trained to recognize when students need help.”

She said students know when they feel sad or are hurting, and they should not allow embarrassment to get in the way of seeking help.

Akamatsu said the stigma people feel society attaches to psychological help has lessened.

“My assumptions are the stigma is not as bad as people might imagine it because we certainly get plenty of people coming into our clinic,” he said. “We often have a waiting list going, so there doesn’t seem to be a lot of hesitation about coming in.”

Services at the Psychological Clinic are free for students and are administered by graduate students in clinical psychology. Students can make appointments by calling (330) 672-2372.

Psychological Services offers treatment from licensed psychologists for anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. Treatment is also available for alcohol abuse and eating disorders. The University Health Services Web site,, has self-assessment tools available.

A third option for treatment on campus is the Counseling and Human Development Center in White Hall. The center is staffed with graduate students and its services are also free. Students can call 672-2208 to schedule an appointment.

Contact news correspondent Tieran Lewis at [email protected].