UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – This time of year can be tough for those who struggle with seasonal depression, but the winter can also affect anyone despite a diagnosis.

College students who are constantly under a great deal of pressure might find these months tougher than others, so it’s important to know the warning signs and options for help that are available.

“If someone seems to be kind of withdrawn or just not really doing the things that they used to do, not really going to activities or maybe, on campus, not going to their classes, that kind of thing, that change in behavior is usually one of the first signs that something might not be going so well for them,” explained Ariel Rios, Executive Director of the Health & Wellness Center at Utica University.

And Rios understands that it can be hard or awkward to talk to a friend about a change in their behavior, but luckily, she has some tips.

“We often say to pull that person aside, you know, if you see them in the dining hall or somewhere, it’s not really the best place to say, ‘Hey, you know, I’ve noticed something different going on with you,’ but maybe a quiet place,” said Rios.

She continued, “And to really be open to listening to them – that’s really important – we really stress the importance of active listening and really trying to be empathetic, and hearing what that person is saying.”

“And then you can kind of go from there with telling them that you’re concerned about them. That maybe they want to consider some of these resources.”

And she adds that Utica University offers several ways to help.

“So here we have the Health and Wellness Center, so we are combined with both the counseling side and also the medical side,” she said, “We try and take an integrated approach.”

“We also have partnered with the YWCA Mohawk Valley to provide resources around sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and we also try and provide resources to our students.”

She continued, “Let them know about crisis numbers, text lines, the 988 number – if there are any concerns about suicide – and provide those to the students as well.”