UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) — As first year students transition into college some may start to struggle with their mental health. Utica College Executive Director of Health and Wellness T.J. Lane spoke to us about how to tell if you student is struggling.

“So on top of the difficulties from the transition now they have to deal with the anxiety from the pandemic and worry about family back home anybody that might get sick which is quite a challenge,” said Lane.

This time last year, three quarters of students at Utica College had reported that they had heightened anxiety and there was an overall increase in students seeking out help for mental health. lane tells us that there are specific signs that friends and family can look for if they think that their loved one may need to seek help.

“How are they sleeping. if you’re losing a lot of sleep on a regular basis its going to really effect your ability to cope with all of the changes. how are they eating. if they are not eating well or if they are not eating as much that could also have an impact on you.  in terms of things to look for that might be more alarming you might want to look for an increase in isolation,” said Lane.

Most college campuses have counseling centers where students have access to free confidential mental health services. there are also systems where students and faculty can anonymously refer students they think are struggling. lane tells us that as early as you notice something that’s wrong in a friend, child or student you should try and tackle the issue before things get out of control.

“In general are dealing with a lot of different demands on their time and energy and once you get behind its hard to catch back up so having anxiety and depression and different mental health issues while you’re trying to go to school can make it more challenging so the earlier you get in to get help and to talk to somebody the better,” said Lane.