Post Grad Depression

Simone Koger, MA, LMFTA, CGP

2022-05-31

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Post grad depression can happen all at once, or slowly over time.

Are you close to graduation or have just graduated a high school or college program?

This might be a good article for you then. Post-graduation depression is not as normalized as it should be. This is a HUGE life transition!

In America, our narrative around life is work, work, work. Progress, attaining goals, productivity and overworking are just a few of the social norms that we are pushed to believe in. But where does that leave us when a huge goal has been accomplished?

It can move us into a state of sadness, this big life goal is over. This thing that has driven our productivity, our stressors, our decisions- is now not a guiding star anymore. So what comes next?

According to an article by ThinkImpact, 3,650,000 students graduate from high school in America each year and around 4,000,000 students graduate from college. Many people who graduate, don't have a specific job or even career set up after graduating. In an article by Make It, they wrote, "According to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data from January 2020 to October 2020 by Pew Research Center, 2020 college graduates saw a bigger decrease in labor force participation than those who graduated during the Great Recession."

That is a HUGE deal! Can you imagine? The ability to find work or even know what you want to try for work is increasingly difficult.

So, what can we do to combat post grad depression?

  • Identify your feelings: Post-graduation depression may include:
    • Loneliness
    • Sadness
    • Decreased Motivation
    • General hopelessness
    • Stress to figure out "what's next"
    • Diminished planning for the future
    • Decreases in Self-Image or Self-Worth
    • and many more symptoms
  • Plan ahead!
    • Figure out your next housing situation
    • Identify groups, extracurricular clubs, Facebook groups, places you like to go that support your connection with others
    • Participate in things that are meaningful to you
    • Map out general wants you want for your life: Income, Location, Time v. Work, etc
    • Talk to your Therapist or find one who is knowledgable in post-grad depression support
    • If you are moving home for a bit, talk to your family about boundaries & new rules of the house since you are re-entering the home as an adult
    • Be KIND to yourself! You just went from a very regimented schedule, to basically no schedule at all. That can be destabilizing! Think about self-affirmations, self care routines, and other positive self-talk ways to support yourself on this stage of your journey.
    • Remember big goals like finding a career, or the next stage of your life path- TAKES TIME. It is not an instant thing.

For more information, here are some articles on Post-Grad Depression symptoms & support:

https://www.webmd.com/depression/features/post-college-depression

https://www.snhu.edu/about-us/newsroom/health/post-graduate-depression

If you are in Washington and want support, please feel free to contact me to see if we have openings to provide tele-therapy support for your post-graduation journey.