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Experiencing post grad depression? Discover the causes behind this common phenomenon and explore effective treatment options to overcome it. Learn how to cope with the challenges of transitioning from college to the professional world, and find strategies for managing post-grad depression. Depression Open Talks also provide insights into therapy, self-care practices, and other helpful techniques that can empower you to navigate this transitional phase with resilience and embrace a brighter future.

Overview of Post Grad Depression

Growing up is difficult. You will encounter new challenges as you enter various life stages, such as childhood, adolescence, and postgraduate years. You are most certainly not the only one who has felt a little depressed or more depressed than usual since graduation. The adjustment phase following graduation is challenging for many individuals. Some even go on to experience post grad depression, which is characterized by feelings of extreme dejection, exhaustion, or lack of motivation that make it difficult to carry out basic everyday tasks.

Why do so many recent college grads experience depression? Do those mood swings always point to depression, or could there be another explanation? What can you do to improve your mood? Below are the solutions to these queries as well as additional information on post-graduation depression.

What Is Post Grad Depression?

Post grad depression is a particular form of situational depression that appears after finishing college. One recent study examined 15,000 doctoral students for signs of depression. The findings show that between 2019 and 2020, the incidence of depressive symptoms more than doubled, going from 15% to 32%.

The National Alliance on Mental Health reports that 75% of mental health conditions start by the age of 24 because of  both college and the abrupt transition.


Common causes of post grad depression

For most individuals, graduating from college is a significant transition. There are many new adult demands, and it is the first time someone is not in school. Young people often have structure while attending college, but less than when they were living at home with their parents or other primary caregivers. This makes college a unique period of development for them.

There are many pressures after graduation. Humans also contrast themselves with one another, which only reinforces our current sense of inferiority. Following are some typical causes of post grad depression:

Put up with a lot of rejection

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the unemployment rate for adults between the ages of 20 and 24 is 7.5% as of March 2022. Many recent college grads are stuck in a catch-22 situation. They lack the necessary experience to be considered for many high-paying positions. But they must compete for lower-paying positions with teenagers, who can legally be paid less than the minimum wage for the first 90 days.

It can be challenging to find a full-time position. Numerous college graduates before the pandemic’s onset couldn’t secure a full-time position. Your emotional health may suffer as a result of having to endure rejection after rejection. You might start to doubt your value and your skills. Because of this, it is simple to sink into an abyss of despondency and futility.

Deal with the weight of college debt

The Education Data Initiative estimates that 65 % of college grads have debt from student loans. Suicidal thoughts can also be brought on by enormous student loan debt. One in 14 high-debt borrowers who participated in a poll in 2021 said they had considered suicide. One in eight borrowers who earned less than $50,000 or were unemployed said they had thought about taking their own lives.

Undergoing a significant change

You’ve spent the majority of your time in school up until now. You could be fairly independent and go anywhere you wished while in college. But as you relocate to your own home or even return to your parent’s home, you might find it difficult to adjust to this new situation.

You might find it difficult to return to your childhood home when you’re meant to be launching your career outside. If you think you’d be completely autonomous by the time you graduated from college, this might cause you to feel a little self-critical. Home might not be a secure or welcoming environment, which could exacerbate the depression.

When you rent your apartment in a new location, you will experience some growing pains, such as stocking up on cleaning supplies and handling the utilities. In either case, you are adjusting to a new phase of your existence for which you might not be entirely ready.

Difficult to adapt to a new way of life

A 9–5 routine can be difficult to adapt to. You won’t be able to get up at 10 a.m. every day and go to class in your pajamas and shoes any longer. You’ll typically need to dress in business attire. Some companies have set lunchtime times that must be observed. For recent graduates accustomed to attending class and meeting their peers whenever, this new schedule can be jarring.

Afraid of stepping on your own feet

Young adults are expected to be largely independent of their parents in our society. Whether or not this is reasonable, some young people may rely on their parents for a longer period, a condition known as failure to launch syndrome. Judgment, both internal and external, may accompany this.

Friendships change or scattering

After college, friends undergo a range of changes. However, you might find making friends much more difficult once you graduate. Friends relocate or become overly preoccupied with their corporate employers. Although it is a normal part of living, learning to deal with loneliness as a young adult is not simple. Depression may be brought on or exacerbated by this rapidly shifting environment.

Overwhelmed by upcoming actions and modifications

Finding a place to live, paying off student debts, landing a job, deciding on benefits at work, and other post-college chores may all contribute to post grad depression.

The state of the world

Graduates today face a variety of existential crises in addition to loneliness and money difficulties:

  • the worsening global emergency
  • the continuing pandemic like COVID
  • political violence.

When you are unsure whether or not the future will even exist, it can be challenging to feel optimistic about it.


Signs and symptoms of post grad depression

It’s normal to experience fatigue or worry during times of transition. However, if you spend the majority of your day in bed or are so upset that you are unable to focus, then there may be a more serious issue at hand.

Here are a few ways post grad depression may manifest in your life:

  • Humiliation, guilt, or self-loathing: You might look back on your college years and wish that you had studied more or spent more time with pals. Maybe you judge yourself for picking the “wrong” school or subject.
  • Difficult to experience pleasure: Without your undergraduate friends present, you might find it difficult to indulge in your old interests. Without them, everything you do might seem boring or useless.
  • Problems with sleep: Your sleep pattern may be affected by depression. You might discover that you’re sleepy in the afternoon, fatigued, or unable to fall asleep at all.
  • Irritability and cynicism. You might feel duped or misled if your degree doesn’t lead you where you had hoped. Your rage at the circumstance might manifest in other areas of your existence.
  • Hopelessness: If you scroll through social media, you might think that all of your peers are succeeding to the fullest. You might fervently wish you could go back in time for a do-over if you feel like you skipped the boat to a better future.
  • Appetite modification: Depression can make you feel perpetually hungry. Unintentional weight reduction or gain may result from changes in your eating habits.
  • Brain fog: You might experience difficulty concentrating at work or forget basic things.

Post grad depression frequently presents as a covert depression. A recent graduate may seem to be prospering and thriving while internally struggling. Since the individual is less likely to receive the necessary assistance, hidden depression can be even more dangerous than other types. Additionally, high-functioning anxiety, which is also prevalent in young adults, can coexist with post-college depression.

Who is most Prone to Depression After College?

A person’s susceptibility to depression is impacted personally by a complex web of variables. How we react to stressful situations later in life is influenced by our genetic makeup, disposition, and early life experiences. A person’s current circumstances (e.g. financial stability) and how accepted they feel by their family and society, are also crucial. Most post-graduation depression sufferers are low-income, colored, female, LGBTQ, and those providing care for children or other people.

Additionally, more than 40% of people who have experienced one depressive episode will go through a second one at some point, making depression a highly recurrent condition. Hence, the likelihood of developing depression after college has risen along with rising rates of depression among college students in recent years.

Other mental issues can cause post grad depression

Even though the obstacles you face after graduation can affect your mood, depression that develops after graduation may not always be related to them. Early adulthood is also a common time for the onset of mood illnesses like major depression and bipolar disorder.  According to 2022 research, approximately 23% of mood disorders start between the ages of 18 and 25

Other mental health issues that could manifest at this age include:

  • Schizophrenia: Similar to depression, schizophrenia can cause social withdrawal, sleep issues, and a general lack of interest in day-to-day activities. However, psychosis, which can cause signs like hallucinations or catatonia, is a component of schizophrenia.
  • Circadian rhythm sleep disorders: It can be challenging to get regular, good-quality slumber if your body’s internal clock is malfunctioning. Although you might feel worn out and foggy-headed, you’re unlikely to experience the ongoing hopelessness or self-loathing that depression is known for.
  • Adjustment disorder with depression. As was already stated, adjustment disorder with depression is characterized by a problem managing stressful or difficult life events. You might experience depressing, hopeless feelings or weep more than usual. 
  • Seasonal depression: Most seasonal depression sufferers show signs in the winter. But some do as well, especially around graduation time in the spring. Spring depression, as opposed to major depression, is likely to get better as the seasons shift.

How to Prevent Post Grad Depression

Planning is essential to ensuring a smooth transition to a new environment. Because campus-based college students are accustomed to having simple access to necessities like food, shelter, and social events.

The prevention of post grad depression may be aided by preparation and self-care. Basic self-care abilities can also serve as a barrier against mental health issues like depression. You can strengthen your fortitude by taking simple steps to take care of yourself.

  • Make arrangements for lodging: After graduation, whether moving away from home or back, students should take special note of the “tools” available wherever they end up.
  • Start by comprehending your loan circumstances for students: Find out more about your specific student loan circumstances as soon as you can. Log into any necessary accounts, investigate your choices for repaying the loans, and begin formulating your monthly payment.
  • Hone your self-care abilities: As you get close to making the big transition of finishing college, practice your self-care techniques. This entails obtaining 7-9 hours of good-quality sleep each night, engaging in enjoyable physical activity regularly, consuming plenty of water and healthy foods, and staying on top of preventive care.
  • Create a social network in the place where you intend to reside: Try to make friends and build a social network in the place you’ll be living in after college to keep yourself from feeling isolated and lonely. This could be reconnecting with former pals, signing up for a gym, finding a meetup group, etc.
  • Decide where you want to submit employment applications: Make a list of the businesses that you might be interested in. You’ll have already completed some of the research when you’re ready to submit.

How to cope with Post Grad Depression

Even though many social problems contribute to post grad depression, you can take steps to improve your well-being.

Prepare for life after college

  • Avoid loneliness by being proactive: Create a support group with your peers. Meet up in person a few times to discuss aspirations and concerns for the future. Plan how you will maintain the relationship after you graduate.
  • Investigate the alumni support provided by your college: For their alumni, many universities provide lifetime employment benefits. These services give you access to things like free resume editing, job coaching, and alumni-only mentoring programs. Don’t be afraid to use the things you paid for with your tuition.
  • Reconnect with old acquaintances: Social media frequently makes people appear much busier and happier than they are. You may not be able to go back to school, but you can still maintain those relationships. Even a quick phone or video call can strengthen your relationship and make you feel less alone.

Create wholesome routines for yourself

  • Set the three foundations of mental wellness as a priority: The neurochemicals that control mental health are directly affected by all three of these lifestyle factors: a healthy diet, frequent exercise, and adequate sleep.
  • Don’t overuse social media: Using social media to communicate with distant acquaintances can be very beneficial. However, because the majority of people only share the positive parts of their lives, it’s simple to fall into an “upward comparison” trap that is bad for one’s self-esteem.

Bring a strong set of coping mechanisms to your new life

  • Recognize that things rarely go as planned in life: Even though you may have a graduate job path in mind, things might not go as planned. Just keep in mind that it’s perfectly fine to not know exactly what you want to do with your life; you’ll get there.
  • Begin modestly: With everything going on in the world and your existence, it can be simple to become overwhelmed. If you’re feeling lost, consider setting a single, manageable goal.
  • Reframe the new: For instance, challenge friends who live there to tasks like “find the best coffee” to get to know your new city. This kind of scavenger hunt can help you see a familiar place with new views.
  • Identify what you should improve in your CV: Try to remain upbeat! When you get denied, consider what you might have done differently, use that knowledge for the future, and get back up. Remember that you worked very diligently for years to earn the grades necessary for graduation. It’s unlikely that someone with a weak work ethic could have achieved that.

Professional support for post grad depression

Medical experts can put you on the correct path if you’re having trouble after graduation finding a positive mental attitude. If depression is not treated, it can get worse over time. But treatment with the proper resources and assistance can help you recover.


Online database

You can use a free online directory provided by some mental health groups, such as the American Psychological Association or the Association of LGBTQ+ Psychiatrists, to locate mental health specialists in your area.


You won’t be able to schedule free appointments at your college counseling facility any longer once you graduate. However, you can still request recommendations for nearby mental health services. If you have a usual doctor or another healthcare provider, you can also consult them.

📜Explore potential treatments for depression by checking out our Depression Treatment Compilation.

Conclusion: Post Grad Depression

In conclusion, post grad depression is a common experience that many individuals face during the transition from college to the professional world. It is important to recognize that you are not alone in this journey and that there are effective treatment options available to help you overcome it.

By understanding the causes and implementing strategies for self-care, seeking therapy, and embracing a positive mindset, you can navigate post grad depression with resilience. Remember, this transitional phase is an opportunity for growth and personal development. With time, support, and a proactive approach, you can find your path to a fulfilling and successful post-grad life.


Johnson, J., Swaim, E., & Kubala, J. (2022, May 23). Post Grad Depression: Signs, Causes, and Coping Tips. Healthline. Retrieved May 14, 2023, from https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/post-grad-depression

Justice, A. (2023, April 3). Just Graduated? Ways To Combat Post-College Depression. BetterHelp. Retrieved May 14, 2023, from https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/depression/just-graduated-ways-to-combat-post-college-depression/

Meadows, R. (2017, August 6). Post graduation depression after graduating college is a real thing. I had it. The Washington Post. Retrieved May 14, 2023, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/theres-such-a-thing-as-post-graduation-depression-i-know-i-had-it/2017/08/04/4d163c6a-618d-11e7-a4f7-af34fc1d9d39_story.html

Post-College Depression: How to Cope. (2022, May 6). Newport Institute. Retrieved May 14, 2023, from https://www.newportinstitute.com/resources/mental-health/post-college-depression/

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