Mental health problems can affect a student’s energy level, concentration, dependability, mental ability, and optimism, hindering performance. Many college students report that mental health difficulties interfere with their studies. Mental health problems can affect many areas of students’ lives, reducing their quality of life, academic achievement, physical health, and satisfaction with the college experience, and negatively impacting relationships with friends and family members. These issues can also have long-term consequences for students, affecting their future employment, earning potential, and overall health.
Today’s younger generation represents the largest group of students in history. The transition from adolescence into young adulthood involves major changes in several areas – financial, housing, social, and emotional – and this transition period can cause relational challenges that some young adults experience as stressful. It has also been maintained that the proportion of students who experience their student life as mentally stressful is increasing. Both anxiety and depression are detrimental to academic and social participation in everyday student life.
Strategies to assist students in colleges / universities
- Make sure that the student is aware of the support services available and know where to refer a student if they are struggling to keep up in lectures or with attendance
- Support and guidance for other students in the group is available from the disability office or health centre staff if required
- Allow students to use a Dictaphone to tape lectures
- Avoid putting students in a stressful situation, e.g. asking them to read out loud in class. If this is a course requirement, give them as much advance warning as possible
- Develop some knowledge about mental health conditions.
- Do not assume that a student is simply lazy or unmotivated. What you are seeing is often the illness, and not the person
- Avoid inadvertently stigmatising or discriminating against a student. If a student discloses their mental illness, keep it confidential
- Don’t try to solve the student’s personal issues or be a therapist – know when to refer a student onto the disability office or campus medical centre. If a student’s behaviour in class is not acceptable or inappropriate, speak to them privately. Equity of access is about providing the opportunity for equality while ensuring that other students are not disadvantaged.
- Be flexible with deadlines and extensions – expect ongoing extension requests.
- Encourage stressed students to apply for alternative assessment arrangements.
Role of parents
Help children build strong, caring relationships – It’s important for children and youth to have strong relationships with family and friends. Spend some time together each night around the dinner table.
Help children and youth develop self-esteem, so that they feel good about themselves: Show lots of love and acceptance, praise them when they do well. Recognize their efforts as well as what they achieve, ask questions about their activities and interests, help them set realistic goals.
Listen, and respect their feelings: It’s OK for children and youth to feel sad or angry. Encourage them to talk about how they feel. Keep communication and conversation flowing by asking questions and listening to your child.
Create a safe, positive home environment: Be aware of your child’s media use, both the content and the amount of time spent on screens. This includes TV, movies, Internet, and gaming devices. Be aware of who they might be interacting with on social media and online games.
In difficult situations, help children and youth solve problems:
Teach your child how to relax when they feel upset. This could be deep breathing, doing something calming (such as a quiet activity they enjoy), taking some time alone, or going for a walk.
- Seek professional help right away.
- If your teenager’s behaviour has you concerned, don’t wait to contact your paediatrician. Contact a local mental health provider who works with children to have your child or youth evaluated as soon as possible so that your son or daughter can start therapy or counselling if he or she is not in danger of self-harm.
- Share your feelings.
- Let your teen know he or she is not alone and that everyone feels sad or depressed or anxious now and then, including moms and dads.
- Encourage your teen not isolate himself or herself from family and friends.
- It’s usually better to be around other people than to be alone.
- Recommend exercise.
- Physical activity as simple as walking or as vigorous as pumping iron can put the brakes on mild to moderate depression.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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