Being a college student, what do you think what the most crucial factor in student success is? – think for a while – Is it intelligence? A strong background? Standard educational institute? The time you spent studying?

Yes, you’re getting to the point. It’s indeed your MENTAL HEALTH, your PEACE!

Becoming a college student or getting into college can be stressful and full of decisions. In an American Psychological Association (APA) research, 95% of university counselling directors reported an increasing number of students on campus with prominent psychological issues.

What could the reason be? – To your surprise, around 75% of young individuals with mental health problems do not receive treatment, and over 51% are embarrassed about their mental condition.

So, this blog is for you. If you’re concerned about your mental health or seeing your colleagues struggling with their mental health, this is your chance to take the initiative!

Student mental health: What exactly is mental health?

Mental health includes all aspects of our physical, psychological, emotional, and social well-being. It influences how people perceive themselves, their relationship with others, and their capacity to deal with their thoughts and emotions.

According to WHO, mental health is a condition of well-being that helps people to handle life’s stressors, realise their potential, study and work productively, and contribute to their community.

So, this is all about healthy mental health. What about poor mental health?

Poor mental health or mental illness is a brain disease that makes it challenging to manage the demands of life by causing changes in thought, behaviour, energy, or emotion. Various factors can influence it, including genetics, family history, thoughts and feelings, environment, and others.

Common mental health issues college students face

Some of the common mental health issues a college student faces include:

1. Anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling that is all too prevalent, yet it may get out of control under pressure and stress. Numerous factors, like impending exams, trouble keeping up with classes and assignments, or the absence of a familiar support network, can make students anxious.

Although each person’s manifestation of anxiety disorders is different, the following signs and symptoms are usually present:

  • A sense of impending doom
  • Trouble focusing
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Feelings of agitation, stress, or tension
  • Sweating or trembling
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Headaches or nausea
  • Fatigue and weakness

2. Depression

Among college students, depression is a common mental health problem. Academic stress, loneliness, financial difficulty, interpersonal issues, or the isolation that comes with being in an unfamiliar environment are just a few factors that can lead to depression.

Everyone experiences depression differently, but some of its common symptoms include:

  • Mood swings
  • Ongoing feelings of despair and sadness
  • Uncontrollable emotions
  • Changes in sleep or appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Withdrawal from social circles
  • Lack of energy

3. Eating disorders

Eating disorders are a serious concern for college students, with studies showing that they are prevalent among this population. Eating disorders among college students may include anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder.

Some of the symptoms of eating disorders in college students may include:

  • Low self-esteem or complaints about body
  • Mood swings
  • Sadness
  • Increase in depression
  • Chaotic food intake
  • Excessive exercise
  • Eating in isolation

4. Substance abuse

Mental health problems can also cause substance abuse. Students experiencing stress, anxiety, or despair may turn to alcohol or drugs as a way of coping with it.

Abuse of substances can worsen mental health and result in addiction, setting up a vicious cycle that can be challenging to stop.

Impact of these mental health issues

Any mental health issues discussed above can affect the student’s life in many ways. Some of these include:

1. Decreased academic performance

Mental health problems might impair students’ academic performance and output.

Students may find it challenging to keep up with their studies due to concentration issues, decreased motivation, and a lack of energy caused by anxiety and depression.

2. Physical health problems

Mental and physical health are related directly. Poor mental health can have negative effects on both physical and mental health. Chronic stress and worry can affect students’ daily lives and result in physical symptoms, including headaches, stomach aches, and exhaustion.

3. Relationship problems

Students may find it difficult to sustain good relationships due to mental health issues. Since social isolation is a typical result of depression and anxiety, it can be challenging for students to feel cut off from their support networks.

Additionally, it might make it difficult for students to have productive conversations with their friends and family, which can damage those bonds.

So, how to support your mental health as a student?

While in college, you can try to boost your own health in addition to utilising mental health support systems.

Here are some ideas for improving your mental health:

Time management

You may reduce stress and improve your mental health by developing good time management skills. There are several techniques to make your time management better.

These include structuring your day in time blocks, planning, making attainable goals, setting reachable goals, developing a to-do list based on priority, and being organised.

Begin a fitness routine

You can improve your mood and clarity of thought by exercising. Check out your campus recreation facility, which can offer intramural sports, group fitness courses, or outdoor trips, to find your ideal exercise routine.

Get enough sleep

Cycles of sleep helps control the release of dopamine and serotonin, two hormones essential for productivity and the prevention of depression and anxiety.

Eat your veggies & fruits

When your entire body is healthier, so is your mind. Consuming many fruits and vegetables can help your body experience less inflammation.

Take breaks

Regardless of how productive and efficient your time management abilities may be, you still need to take breaks to recharge.

Hang out with friends

What else are friends for? If you’re feeling down or stressed, just ask your friend and hang out. And believe me, it works!

Love yourself

Do what you love. Either read your long-forgotten novel or listen to your favourite music.

Student mental health | Take away

Mental health is a critical problem for college students, and students must understand their challenges and the resources available to help them. Students who seek support early can get the help they need to treat their symptoms and enhance their mental health.

So, broaden your mind and look around. Don’t ignore your colleague who are displaying symptoms of mental illness. Be kind and careful with your words. Don’t make assumptions about them. And be a friend that you would need to talk to when feeling low.