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Introduction: This article discusses the causes of depression among university students and how it affects their academic life. It also looks at how students understand and define the concept of depression since research evidence points to the fact that arriving at a consensual definition for depression can be difficult due to the varying experiences among individuals influencing its definition. Methods: Data was collected through in-depth interviews with undergraduate students in the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Faculty of Social Sciences and review of various literatures on depression. Findings: The study revealed that majority of the students viewed depression as a long period of sadness where one feels hopeless and worthless; few viewed depression as a long period of sadness and isolation. Students understood the concept based on their personal experiences. It also indicates that loss of a loved one, financial crisis and unmet expectations in their academic work were the causes of depression among university students. It also confirmed that depression affects students’ academic life in a number of ways which includes inability to study and poor academic achievements. Conclusion: The study concludes by acknowledging that students are able to cope with their depression on their own, yet it recommends that the counseling unit of the university be made easily approachable and strengthened, students encouraged to seek guidance and counseling.
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