College Health and Safety
Going to college is an exciting time in a young person’s life. It’s a time for gaining new knowledge and experiences, both inside and outside the classroom. There are all kinds of tests in college–beyond those you take for a grade. Examples include:
- Social and sexual pressures.
- The temptation of readily available alcohol, drugs, and unhealthy food.
- The challenge of getting enough sleep.
- Stress from trying to balance classes, friends, homework, jobs, athletics, and leadership positions.
- Managing stress and maintaining good balance is important. A few ways to manage stress are to get enough sleep , avoid drugs and alcohol, connect socially and also take time for yourself. Seek help from a medical or mental health professional if depressed or experiencing distress. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among persons aged 15 to 24 years. If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide , contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle starting with diet and exercise. Follow an eating plan with portions from the basic food groups. Also be aware that beverages may be adding extra calories. Adults need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of exercise each week. Be creative about ways to get in exercise like walking across campus instead of driving, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and working out with a friend, group or joining an intramural sports team Regular activity helps improve your overall health and fitness. It also reduces your risk for many chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Find something you enjoy, such as jogging or running, dancing, or playing sports.
- The following tips and information can help you stay safe and healthy in college.
Sexually transmitted infections can be prevented. They are also treatable, and many are curable. Half of all new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) occur among young people under the age of 25. College students and others who are sexually active should get tested for STDs and HIV to know their status and protect themselves and their sexual partners. Nearly half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) diagnosed each year are among young people aged 15–24 years. Women can have long term effects of these diseases, including pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, tubal scarring, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain. About 1 in 4 (26 percent) of all new HIV infections is among youth ages 13 to 24 years. About 4 in 5 of these infections occur in males.
- If you are a sexually active female aged 25 years or younger, get tested every year for chlamydia. If left untreated, chlamydia can affect your ability to have children.
- If you are diagnosed with an STD, notify your sex partners so they can be tested and receive treatment if needed. If your sex partner is diagnosed with an STD, you need to be evaluated, tested, and treated.
- The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of STDs, including HIV infection, are to abstain from sexual activity or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.
- Latex male and female condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of transmission of some STDs
Sexual assault happens on college campuses as well as in communities. Sexual violence is a significant problem in the United States. SV refers to sexual activity where consent is not obtained or freely given. Anyone can experience SV, but most victims are female. The person responsible for the violence is typically male and is usually someone known to the victim. The person can be, but is not limited to, a friend, coworker, neighbor, or family member. One in 5 women have been sexually assaulted while in college and 80% of female victims of completed rape experienced their first rape before the age of 25. Students should know their rights, and seek help immediately if they or someone they know is the victim of violence. If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual violence and needs help, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or your local emergency service at 9-1-1.
Binge drinking is defined as having four or more drinks for women or five or more drinks for men over a short period of time. About 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the United States is in the form of binge drinks. Binge drinking is a factor that increases your chances for risky sexual behavior, unintended pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, car crashes, violence, and alcohol poisoning. Get the facts about alcohol use and health and learn what you can do.
Substance abuse and smoking are problems among young people. In 2013, around 21% of those aged 18 to 25 years reported use of illicit drugs in the past month. Heroin use more than doubled among this age group in the past decade. Among cigarette smokers, 99% first tried smoking by the age of 26. Some college students have a lot of pressure to use alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes, especially when trying to make friends and become part of a group. Drinking on college campuses is more widespread than many people may realize. College students commonly binge drink, which for men is defined as having five or more drinks, and for women, four or more drinks, on an occasion.
Alcohol and other drug use among young people are major public health problems in the United States. Substance use and abuse can increase the chances for fatal and nonfatal injuries, sexual violence, unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases.
If you or a friend is struggling with a health or safety problem, you can:
- Talk to someone you trust for support.
- Visit the Student Health Center (330-569-5418) or local clinic or hospital.
- Contact the campus or community police if your or someone else’s safety is threatened.Source: http://www.cdc.gov/features/collegehealth/2016.