A Walk on the Dark Side of University Life; EDUCATION MATTERS Leaving Home, Drinking, Experimenting, Meeting New People, Living Alone - All These Are Just Some of the Aspects That Create an Incredible University Experience. but Robyn Rosen Looks at How These Factors Can Terrify and Alienate New Students

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Byline: Robyn Rosen

Depression is a problem which touches many lives - young, old, secure, insecure, popular or lonely. Cocooned in a campus bubble, not all students are not exempt from the effects of depression. Students become depressed for many reasons.

Students Against Depression is a website which provides detailed information about depression, as well as a forum and sufferers' real stories.

It is owned by the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, a national charity which focuses on raising awareness of depression, reducing stigma, and developing depression resources.

Chloe Forbes, spokeswoman for Students Against Depression, said: "Depression can be because of exam time or students receiving results back.

"For many first-years, they realise that there is considerable work to be done and feel the pressure of managing the demands of the peer-pressures of student life with the demands of academic work."

She explained that issues such as stress, unfamiliar surroundings, lack of family support and even bad weather can lead to low moods, anger and anxiety.

As recently as 20 years ago, scientists believed that youngsters could not suffer from the illness. However, a 2003 survey by the Mental Health Foundation showed that 12 per cent of male university students and 15 per cent of female university students suffered from clinical depression.

Michael Lord, project director of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, said: "As the number of graduates increases to match the Government target of 50 per cent in tertiary education, and as universities and colleges seek to recruit more overseas students, partly for funding reasons, so the likelihood of students to suffer from depression etc will increase as, at the lower entry levels, they may not be equipped to cope.

"In a survey of 50 students, the three issues which raised the most concern were relationships within the family, home sickness and financial worries. …