UC Berkeley Depression (A complete guide)

In this post, we will be exploring UC Berkeley Depression, the signs and symptoms of depression and its major classification, along with depression in college-going students, strictly focusing on UC Berkeley; the causes of depression, strategies that they can follow to get rid of the alarming depression rate and finally some of the FAQs about the topic.


It is a mood disorder that is often called Unipolar Depression or Major Depressive Disorder. It is one of the most common and prevalent mental disorders. Depression if remains untreated gets worse and takes a toll on one’s life in some cases.

UC Berkeley

University of California, Berkeley is a public university established in 1868 as the first state land grant university. 

It is the oldest university of California campus and a founding member of the American University Association. The university is ranked first in environment and chemistry and physics as well. The motto of the university is let there be light. 

Symptoms of Depression

The three main symptoms of an individual battling with Depression are:

  • Anhedonia: Loss of interest in all pleasurable activities.
  • Fatigability: low energy and get tired easily.
  • Depressed mood: low mood and depressed mood for a prolonged time.

Some of the symptoms experienced by people suffering from depression are:

  • Aggressiveness and Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Hopeless feeling
  • Loss of Interest, Anhedonia
  • Get tired easily, fatigability
  • Lack of sexual desire
  • Recurrent thoughts on suicide
  • Difficulty in communication and interaction
  • Disruption in the sleepy cycle: Insomnia and Hypersomnia
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Pain and Headache
  • Change in appetite
  • Excessive and Inappropriate guilt
  • Diminished ability to concentrate
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Significant weight loss
  • Impairment in social and other major functioning.

Classification of Depression

Based on the severity of the symptoms and their duration, two major types of depression are Major Depressive Disorder or Clinical Depression and Chronic Depressive Disorder/ Dysthymia. Apart from these, there are Bi-Polar Disorder and Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Major Depressive Disorder

To be diagnosed with MDD, there should be five depressive symptoms that last for at least 2 weeks. Adding onto that, there should either be a depressed mood or loss of interest. MDD is a periodic or episodic disorder where the symptoms go on and off over time. Along with it, suicide ideation and thought of death are common. 

Persistent Depression Disorder, Dysthymia

One of the essential features of Dysthymia is a depressed mood that lasts throughout the day for at least 2 years, in case of children the duration is for 1 year. Along with depressed mood, they should also experience two of the six symptoms (poor appetite, sleep disturbance, low energy, low self-esteem, trouble in concentrating and hopelessness)

Bi-Polar Disorder

Two types of Bi-Polar disorder are, BP-1 and BP-2. The manic symptom is the defining feature of the two and the severity of the two differentiate these. Bi-Polar 1 is known as Manic-Depressive Disorder where there is a single episode of mania during their lifetime however, they may or may not have a depressive episode. While Bi-Polar 2 is characterised by hypomanic (milder version of Manic) episodes with Major Depressive Episodes.

Cyclothymic Disorder. 

It is also a chronic mood disorder where the proposed symptom (numerous episodes of hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms) last for at least 2 years. They experience frequent alternating mild symptoms of Mania and Depression. People with cyclothymia have a high risk of developing Mania and Major Depression. 

Postpartum Depression. 

It is a blend of physical, emotional and behavioural changes that a woman undergoes after giving birth. The diagnosis is based on the length of time between their onset and delivery and the severity of depression. Some of the symptoms are difficulty in sleeping, appetite change, fatigue, decreased libido and frequent mood change. It generally begins within the 4 weeks after delivery

Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

It is known by recurrent depressive episodes occurring typically in winter.

The severity of the episode ranges from mild to moderate and in the worse case, have the risk of suicide as well. It is more prevalent in people in the northern part of the world than in summer. The change in melatonin is responsible for this episode, they show more change in melatonin than the rest. 

SAD Symptom is similar to those of Depression except that it coincides with seasons.

Causes of Depression

The causes of depression are different and can be varied according to different people. Often the causes of depression can be complex and an interplay of genetic, environmental factors as well as psychological factors.

At times, there is no apparent reason for the depression episodes in an individual. Regardless of the factors causing depression, it is always treatable and can be cured. 

Two key cause of depression in an individual are:

  • Family History: depression can be inherited and run in the family. Having someone in the family who was diagnosed with depression increases the vulnerability and likelihood of depression in the individual itself. 
  • Stress: environmental and psychological stress can be a major cause of depressive episodes in an individual. Some people canThere are people who can effectively deal with the stress however, there are more who can’t cope up with the stress effectively resulting in suffering from depression. 

Common stressors in college students resulting in Depression

For a college-going youth, there are numerous stressors in their life that can result in depressive episodes anytime in their life. If these stressors are not dealt with effective coping mechanisms, this might lead to depression which might cause severe impairments in the individual as well as their functioning.

Some of the stressors in the college-going students that can be either acute or chronic are mentioned below:

  • There is excessive academic pressure and demands
  • Adjusting with the new cultural environment and adapting with it
  • Balancing between academic life and family life 
  • Financial burden and stress 
  • Changes in their social life and functioning
  • Exposure to the new and novel environment, ideas and people.
  • Preparing for further studies as well as life post-college and studies.
  • Decision making
  • Social Isolation
  • Transition to the new school, college and environment.

These are the major stressors in the college students that might result in depression. If early signs shown by the students were not taken care of, it might gradually lead to depressive symptoms that need treatment and intervention. 

UC Berkeley and Depression

Studies have found that almost 10% of graduate students and professionals at the University of California had suicidal ideation. While more than half of the student has undergone depressive symptoms quite a few times.

Arts and Humanities students of Berkeley university have reported a high rate of depression.

Some of the factors that are related to how graduate students in Berkeley view their lives are career prospects, their health and wellbeing, living condition, academic engagement, social support, financial confidence, sleep, academic progress and preparation. 

Based on the difficulties faced by graduate students in this field, there is a high rate of depression.

It was also found through the research done that the key cause or predictor of depression especially in the graduate students is inadequate sleep and survey results have also shown how sleep can or does alleviate the depressive symptoms.

The major cause of depression in UC Berkeley students are

  • High tuition rate and academic cost
  • Lack of access to financial aids
  • Academic pressure and the unsatisfactory academic performance
  • Difficult and challenging class and course modules
  • Strict policies on missed deadlines and late submissions
  • Limited access to counselling and mental health services around the campus.
  • Imposing excess pressure on the children to achieve success
  • Chronic stress and persistence of the stressors in students worsening their mental health
  • Food Insecurity faced by the students

These are some of the major reasons that result in a high rate of depression and consequent suicide among the students of UC Berkeley. And it is thus the responsibility of the concerned college administration to take care of this alarming rate of depression as well as suicide in the university.

Improving the mental health of UC Berkeley students

It is known that college students are undergoing severe mental health-related problems and the rate of anxiety, other mental health issues and depression are alarming in the students and are rising each day. 

Three in five students share or report overwhelming anxiety symptoms that they are going through and two in every five college students report the depressive symptoms.

Some of the strategies or help that the university can offer to the student to alleviate such symptoms and prioritise the mental health of students are:

  • Providing direct mental health services and making it accessible to all the students’ such Tang Center at UC Berkeley. 
  • Offering space of mental health concerns and treating the issues at hand
  • Recognize the issues faced by the students and alleviating the stressors
  • Providing enough information about stress management techniques and mechanisms.
  • Reforming the financial aid and tuition cost for the students
  • Access to financial aids and offering economic support for the students
  • Making a more intuitive counselling system and a greater leniency 
  • Restructuring the academic standards and course modules
  • Offering more credits and lenient submission policies
  • Increasing the availability of mental health services around the campus
  • Changing class policies
  • Training the instructor and counsellors about the stigma associated with mental health and overcoming certain obstacles when interaction with the students
  • Developing programs for suicide prevention in the campus
  • Opening the campus office to talk about mental health issues and resolve it with a counsellor

These are some of the ways UC Berkeley administration and the concerned authorities can take care of so that the alarming rate of depression in the university graduate and professional students can be treated and resolved. 

FAQs: UC Berkeley Depression

What is the percentage of college students with depression?

36.4% of the students at university exhibited depressive symptoms and 24.5% of them are taking medication. 

Where do most students live in UC Berkeley?

27% of students stay in the college operated or owned housing while 73% of students live independently on their own, mostly off-campus.

Is Berkeley a UC school?

The University of California, Berkeley is a public university in Berkeley, California.

What are the 5 signs of mental illness?

The five major signs of mental illnesses are excessive worrying or paranoia, long-lasting or prolonged sadness and agitation, severe mood swings and diurnal mood, social withdrawal and isolation and change in appetite as well as the sleep cycle.

Is it harder to get into Berkeley or UCLA?

UCLA is more selective and hard to admit to, UC Berkeley is also difficult and tough to get into. However, UCLA is more selective than UC Berkeley thus harder to admit in.

Is it worth going to UC Berkeley?

Yes, UC Berkeley is worth the effort and to admit in. It is considered as an elite and respected worldwide. Professors are of a high ranking and the facilities there at the university.


In this post, we will be exploring UC Berkeley Depression, the signs and symptoms of depression and its major classification, along with depression in college-going youth, strictly focusing on UC Berkeley; the cause of depression, strategies that they can follow to get rid of the alarming depression rate and finally some of the FAQs about the topic.

Internal Links for details





Feldman, A. (2019). What UC Berkeley can do to improve the mental health of students. The Daily Californian. https://www.dailycal.org/2019/11/14/what-uc-berkeley-can-do-to-improve-the-mental-health-of-students/

Jaschik, S. (2015). The Other Mental Health Crisis. inside higher ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/04/22/berkeley-study-finds-high-levels-depression-among-graduate-students

Krupnick, M. (2007). UC Berkeley depression statistics high. Eastbaytimes. https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2007/04/19/uc-berkeley-depression-statistics-high/

University Health Services. (2020). Clinical Depression. UC Berkeley. https://uhs.berkeley.edu/health-topics/mental-health/clinical-depression