Tips to Improve Students Mental Health
Deteriorating mental health is a rising issue among youth all over the world, especially students in various colleges and universities. Many surveys have been conducted in the top universities of the world to find the mental health conditions of the students, and the results are quite concerning.
According to the surveys, over 95% of college students suffer from some form of mental condition, many of whom are freshmen who have just started their professional academic courses. More than 30% percent of the students suffer from clinical depression, 6% of which have suicidal tendencies, and many students even attempt to take their own lives. Out of all the students who dropped out of college or university, 62% said that they withdrew due to issues related to their mental health.
Prolonged issues related to mental health, if left treated, can have serious implications on the person’s overall functioning. 75% of students with mental health issues aren’t properly diagnosed. This is because of inadequate facilities at the university and the huge amount of stress that they undergo.
Studies have shown that one in four students suffer from clinically diagnosed mental health disorders. The most concerning mental health issues faced by students in colleges and universities are as follows:
Top 7 health Mental Disorders Affecting Students
- Anxiety- Anxiety is the most common mental health issue faced by youth. Though most people face some anxiety and find ways by themselves to cope with it, if it gets out of control for a prolonged duration, it can lead to various other serious psychological problems.
- Depression- Depression is also among the top mental issues students face. Depression can be of various degrees and can affect an individual’s grades and health, including reduced energy and focus levels.
- Panic Disorders- Many students find it hard to cope with the stress of their curriculum and experience panic attacks, which is also an implication of anxiety.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)- PTSD is also one of the issues which is faced by students during their studies because of unfortunate traumatic experiences that they may have faced.
- Suicidal Tendencies and Ideation- Suicide cases among college and university students have been rising, with many students having suicidal tendencies and suicide ideation issues, which can prove to be dangerous.
- Eating disorders- These types of disorders are the most hidden and neglected, as they are not acknowledged by most as clinical disorders and are identified as mere traits of one’s personality.
- Insomnia- This is among the most common issues among students, which disturbs their sleeping schedules and stops individuals from sleeping at night, leaving them tired and weak.
In order to improve mental health, there are various steps one can take which can significantly help them with their psychological conditions.
Mental Health Tips for Students
- Having a support network: Having people who you trust can help you to improve your mental health as a college student goes through a lot of stuff, good and bad, and having people with who you can share your thoughts freely can definitely help relieve the stress which a student faces from different sources during their academic courses.
- Eating Right: Taking care of your body is advised for everybody, but people experiencing psychological discomforts are especially suggested to adopt a healthy lifestyle, which includes the right nutrition, as many scientists have noted that a healthy diet constitutes to better functioning of the brain, and allows people to be more energetic and have a positive outlook towards life. It also gives them the strength to tackle the various obstacles people come across in their day-to-day life
- Being more Active: Including some form of physical activity in your daily routine can increase your physical health as well as improve your mental health. Going for jogging or working out regularly can serve as a form of therapy to improve your mental health by increasing blood circulation and can provide more oxygen to the brain, which can help in its recovery from continuous fatigue. Physical activities such as swimming, cycling, walking, dancing, and aerobics allow a person to reduce their stress levels can help with many mental health-related issues such as anxiety and depression.
- Getting proper Sleep: Sleep and mental health are very closely related to each, as any change in one of them is reflected through the other. If one’s sleeping schedule is changed, this can be because of an imbalance in their mental health and vice versa. Poor sleep schedule has been linked to a weakened immune system and causes mental health issues. Thus, getting proper REM sleep is imperative for maintaining and improving an individual’s mental health.
- Getting rid of Toxic Habits: We know that getting rid of one’s toxic habits is a lot easier said than done, but there’s one thing that we can say without a doubt, leaving a toxic habit can improve one’s physical and mental health tremendously. There are some habits that cause less damage than others, but having a healthy lifestyle means having productive traits. Toxic habits such as smoking cigarettes, and substance abuse, including binge drinking and alcohol, might give you a momentary high, but all highs come with their lows, which can have serious implications on your health, both physically and mentally. People suffering from mental issues are more likely to take drugs as a means of temporary relief, but this drives them further into a state of depression and increases their mental health problems. Thus, giving up drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes is the first step toward improving mental health.
- Avoid the influence of social media: Social media was created for us to stay connected with our loved ones. But in recent years, it has been used for everything but that. People share images and videos of events going on in their lives, which people can look at. But these images always show off their vacation pictures, graduation photos, and other achievements; rarely do people show their failures and shortcoming, and in many cases, people even share fabricated images. Constantly having to look at such images might provoke a sense of underachievement or decrease confidence in a person, which can prove to be a cause of many mental health issues, such as anxiety, low esteem, and even depression.
Understanding the reality of social media, and not letting the events of other individuals upset you or get to your head is very important to improve a person’s mental health.
- Make some time for yourself: Life for a college student can get quite demanding and restless. Therefore, you must make some time for yourself. Take a break from anything that has been giving you a lot of trouble and stress, pause it for a while and take some “me time.” Use this time to do anything that you like, a hobby, watch movies, go somewhere, eat your favorite meal, visit your family, and let go of the stress and rejuvenate.
Taking breaks from demanding tasks regularly has been considered a great way to improve an individual’s mental health and increase their functionality by allowing them to get rid of some stress from work from time to time.
2. Set realistic Goals: In order to improve the mental health of an individual, it is important to set small or realistic goals which can be achieved in the near future with reasonable efforts. This gives a person a sense of achievement and helps them in gaining their confidence and self-esteem. Thus it is important that the goals are not too competitive so as to overwhelm the person undergoing mental distress.
Take little steps in improving your ability to work, and increase your self-confidence and skills, thus making you better equipped to deal with bigger tasks and issues.
3. Seek the peace of mind: Calming your mind and gathering your thoughts is important for any individual for them to improve mental health. Seek measures that you can do to get some peace of mind. Exercises such as meditation, reading, writing, music, and yoga have been proven to help improve a person’s mental state.
Self-awareness is also important, which helps in the path to recovery. It makes an individual aware of their current state and helps in improving their decision-making process. This allows them to make better choices which will prove to be beneficial for them and hence improve mental health.
4. Get rid of monotonous routine: The human brain thrives on different and new stimuli. In a monotonous routine, the brain’s cognitive functioning gets restricted because of doing the same activities and seeing the same things repeatedly. It reduces the attention and concentration capabilities of an individual. This increases boredom, which can also be an underlying cause of stress.
Look for ways that keep you entertained, and find creative ways to break your monotonous cycle. Do new and fun activities, which allow you to learn something new, and help in getting rid of boredom. This gives you a chance to let of avoidable stresses which could have led to various issues. Thus improving mental health.
5. Travel: Travelling to new places can have multiple health benefits, which can improve an individual’s mental health. The various health benefits of traveling are that it helps you in staying fit and active, it allows you to break the monotonous routine, which can help in improving mental health as mentioned above, it increases cognitive skills and creativity of an individual, it teaches self-reliance and makes you more self-dependant, it increases self-confidence and self-esteem, and above all, it reduces stress by inducing a sense of happiness, and increasing cortisol level in a person, which help improve the mental health of a person and get them out of depression.
6. Effective Stress Management: Stress in itself is not regarded as an illness but has been characterized as a major contributor to many other psychological disorders, such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, and PTSD, among many others. At the same time, no matter how much we try, stress is an integrated feature of the functioning of the human brain. This is why stress management is very important to improve an individual’s mental health.
There are plenty of things that a person can do in order to effectively manage their stress levels, such as improving eating habits, identifying the sources of stress, managing time, meditation, getting enough sleep, and any physical activity such as dancing, jogging, sports or gym, etc.
- Value yourself: Valuing one’s self is directly linked to increased self-esteem, which plays a crucial role in a person’s mental health. As low self-esteem is a direct consequence of various mental health problems, it is imperative that you give importance to your self-worth, which is a crucial mental health tip for college students.
- Talk to your Campus Counsellor: Every college and university has a campus counselor who handles various issues related to student welfare, including mental health. This is why; they encourage interaction between suffering students who may be dealing with a lot of stress and mental health problem. A campus counselor can help you identify the causes behind your problems and help you in taking the required steps to deal with it.
- Seek professional Assistance: Although all of the above measures are effective and have been proven to improve mental health, they still do not overrule the importance of consulting a mental health professional. There is a stigma around going to a medical professional for your mental health, which seems to stop many individuals from seeking professional assistance with their mental health problems. You must always put your mental health above all else and get the medication and treatment that you need after a proper diagnosis from a psychiatrist or a doctor specializing in mental health.
Hope this article helped you in identifying the importance of dealing with the mental health issues which many of college students are facing today and provided you with some tips which can help to improve sleep and mental health of yourself or a peer.