As exciting as college can be in some respects, this transition is also an incredibly stressful one. Many teenagers are moving away from home for the first time, leaving behind support systems they've relied on for years. Of course, going away to college doesn't mean cutting ties with loved ones, but it does make it more difficult for families and friends to stay abreast of troubling changes in behavior or signs that something is amiss.
Recently on this blog, we reported that colleges across the country were working to spread awareness about eating disorders on campus. In addition, we also provided a list of resources for college students struggling with mental health issues. Last week, The New York Times also touched upon this issue, but through the lens of college roommates. This living situation thrusts two or more strangers into a very intimate setting. Sometimes, it results in fast friendships, while other pairings aren't as successful. Whatever this relationship ultimately becomes, college roommates come to know a lot about one another – and may be privy to self-destructive behaviors that warrant professional help.
"We don't want roommates feeling they have to handle this on their own," said Greg Eells of Cornell University. Eells is the director of counseling and psychological services and notes that college students who are concerned about a roommate's actions should ask for help.
If you have noticed that a friend has become more withdrawn or is displaying other signs of a mental health issue, it may benefit you both to consult a faculty member or reach out to your friend's family members about your concerns. Doing so may help put your friend on the road to recovery.
At Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida, we provide treatment for personality disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse and other self-destructive issues. Fairwinds Treatment Center founder Dr. El-Yousef is a pioneer in dual diagnosis treatment, developing a program that combines extensive psychiatric care with a 12-step program and medication. We are one of the only treatment centers in Florida to recognize and treat eating disorders, addiction and the underlying behavioral issues that may be fueling these conditions.