One out of every three university students suffers from mental health disorders. A significant number of students even leave universities/ colleges without attaining their degrees. Researchers highlighted that mental disorders due to academic stress are the reason behind this trend. Hence, students should avoid the mental disorder risk factors to improve their mental health. Attending mental health awareness campaigns and conferences can help them learn how to tackle academic stress. Therefore, this article will first discuss the effect of academics on mental health and then suggest to students some healthy activities minimize academic stress.
How Do Academics Affect Mental Health?
Students have to face academic stress, anxiety, and depression, which are the most prominent causes of mental disorders. In other words, the mental health of students is at risk due to academic life that involves inadequate instructional methods. These methods are the result of improper teacher-student relationships. By flipping the picture, the teacher-student relationship, if established properly, is the most effective motivational factor for students. Other factors in inadequate instructional methods include academic workload, inability to maintain a balance between academics and life, and disorganized curriculum and class assignments. Regardless of these factors, academic life sometimes results in prolonged stress, anxiety, and depression that affect the overall mental health of students.
Relationship Between Academic Anxiety and Health
Academic anxiety mostly affects first and second-year college students. According to a study conducted by experts of dissertation writing services, the chances of students suffering from academic anxiety in the first and second-year students are 3.6% more as compared to third and fourth-year students. These students are mostly unaware of ways to tackle the workload smartly, which leads to anxiety. Prolonged academic anxiety, if remaining untreated, may lead to serious mental disorders. Moreover, the early signs of mental disorders include stress, depression, and lack of motivation to do work. In later stages, academic anxiety may lead to the following mental disorders:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder
Effect of Academic Stress on Health
Students’ academic life is full of stress. Inability to meet assignment deadlines, unsatisfactory performance in exams, and even inadequate sleep due to workload, all are causes of academic stress. Moreover, academic stress is not a psychiatric problem, yet, it affects mental health. Students with academic stress suffer from concentration and memory problems. Despite all the efforts to teach students to tackle academic stress, the suicidal rate is still so high. The suicidal rate among students is about 8% of all the reported cases. Hence, students should seek some therapeutic sessions in case of any academic mental disorder.
How Can College Students Prevent Mental Illness?
College life is a hard time for most students. At this time of life, students mostly remain unaware of the serious consequences of mental disorders. Many of them neglect the early signs of academic mental illness. Thus, at first, they should attend seminars to get proper knowledge about mental illness, its signs and symptoms, and risk factors. After gathering knowledge about the cause and effects of the mental disorder, one can save him and even other fellows from falling victim to mental disorders. Furthermore, some techniques can help students to prevent mental illness.
- Try to complete the academic work before time.
- Be ready for academic failure wholeheartedly.
- Do not get things (assignments and exams) on your nerves.
- Make a hobby to release the academic stress.
- Make a study schedule and stick hard to it.
- Pass yourself from the gradual process of improvements.
These techniques are effective for students suffering from inferiority complex. The reason is that most of them are sorting the main causes of academic stress-a prevailing cause of mental disorders in students.
How Can Students Maintain Health?
Students of this era are much more confident than in the past. Hence, by following simple tips, they can better take care of their mental health;
Share Your Worries With Others
For students to maintain their mental health, they should keep expressing their thoughts and worries with friends. Those students who are a little less expressive often suffer more from mental disorders. Hence, sharing your worries can provide an immediate solution to most academic problems.
Avoid Being Addictive
Being addictive has a short-term relaxing effect but has long-lasting drastic neurodegenerative effects as well. So students who really want to look after their mental health must avoid all types of addictive drugs and alcohol.
Never Compromise On Sleep
Adequate sleep is necessary for maximizing performance, not only for students but for all individuals. On average, an adult individual needs 8 hours of sleep to keep his mind healthy. Yet, the sleep requirements vary from individual to individual. Moreover, sleep decreases the release of the stress-causing hormone, for example, cortisol. Hence, sleep helps students in maintaining their mental health.
Activities to Improve Mental Health
Colleges or university students must spare some time for healthy activities. Daily light exercise, participation in the writing contest, taking part in sports tournaments, learning new skills, and doing things you like the most are the activities we call healthy for students. Moreover, a proper eating pattern, reading books, watching movies, playing games, and planning a one-day tour with friends are all ways to improve mental health. These are some off-campus activities that can improve the mental health of students. Moreover, students can also get benefited from some on-campus activities as well.
In the light of increasing cases of mental health issues in students, universities arrange a number of on-campus mental health-improving activities. Free mental health screening is an on-campus activity that helps students to know about their mental health status. Moreover, they can participate in the Students Voice survey and public awareness programs. Hence, working for university mental well-being programs is another noble activity to improve mental health.
Improving the mental health of students is not only the responsibility of the mental health professionals. The role of institutes, teachers, parents, and students themselves is of extreme importance as well. Hence, there is a need to focus on diagnosing early symptoms to prevent any serious circumstances of mental disorders.