School can be a pressure-cooker for college students.
Living on student loans can make it tough to pay the bills and put food in the cupboard, and the daily grind of studying to keep up to the course load can take a heavy toll.
It's enough to give some students an unhealthy dose of the blues.
The College of New Caledonia's counseling and advising department is trying to tackle that issue and today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. is inviting everybody on campus to its Beyond the Blues depression and anxiety screening day. The free service will provide information and counseling on mood disorders.
"We want to help our students become more successful in school," said CNC counselor Tammy Skomorowski. "When stress is running high, you start to see symptoms of anxiety and depression. If you don't take care of yourself, it can turn into a mood disorder."
Counselors will be on hand to offer tips on how to recognize symptoms that can lead to mental health problems and show how to access programs at CNC and in the city students can turn to for help.
Each participant will be asked to fill out a brief self-report and will meet with a clinician to discuss findings of the survey and answer questions. The screening process will require each participant to complete questionnaires that deal specifically with depression, anxiety and alcohol use. Free healthy snacks and prize giveaways will be available.
"It's all about information and education to dissolve any stigma and myths around these disorders," added Skomorowski. "Early intervention is important. Maybe all that is needed is more sleep, vitamins, [an improved] diet, or more exercise. Maybe you won't need medication."
The Beyond the Blues program coincides with national mental illness awareness week and involves staff from CNC, the Canadian Mental Health Association and Prince George Native Friendship Centre.