The formative and educational years of a student's life have an immense influence on the years that follow. College students are at the brink of experiencing new things while barely reaching adulthood. They are exposed to a world that is unique and different from the restricted one in high school. They also get freedom, which while being desirable is also pretty scary. All of these factors contribute to pressure, which in turn affects the psychology of college students. In their young budding years, students’ transition from young adults to proper adults takes place; they have both responsibility and freedom. They are targeted by society and burdened with expectations which affect their mental health, making them prone to various unfortunate issues.
Some Such Mental Health Issues Are Listed Below:
Depression:According to recent studies, one in five college students suffers from some sort of recurring feelings of self-loathing and immense sadness. This may be the result of unhealthy amounts of stress and anxiety. This may also be the result of failing to fit into groups and not making friends. Plus, the slew of comparisons facilitated by Instagram has only made this worse. Not only do college students compare themselves with others on the basis of their looks and physical appearance, but they compare social status and materialistic possessions as well. All of these have a severe effect on the mental health of students. If not kept in check, feelings of depression can become increasingly intense and can lead to suicidal thoughts. That is why students are recommended to talk to people who are their well-wishers and share their grievances with them. Talking and sharing are not only ways to unload your mind, but they are also a form of self-therapy.
Stress And Anxiety:
Rigorous college curriculum brings along with it a huge amount of stress. But academics is not the only contributing factor; constant worry over career choices and the struggle to fit in can pile up on them. Many people are also unhappy and unsatisfied with the colleges they end up in. This can turn the brightest of students into dull, underperforming ones. It also affects them physically, making them lose their appetite and disturbing their sleep cycle. Add depression and suicidal thoughts to this mess and you have a deadly cocktail of sorrow.
All the stress, anxiety and suicidal thoughts add up to exorbitant levels. To cope up with it, many of the students resort to unhealthy methods. Combined with the wrong company, they can get exposed to cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana. This can lead to complications in their lives, affecting them both physically and emotionally. It can also lead to extreme weakness and can affect their bodies in ways that cannot be reversed. Thus, they spiral further into an abyss of substance abuse and suicidal thoughts. All this seriously worsens the mental health of students.
Substance abuse is not the only form of harmful coping mechanism that students have. They also binge and overindulge in food, especially the fatty and sugary kind. This has an adverse effect on their physical appearance and overall health. As a result, when they compare themselves to their peers, it only makes them more miserable.
Students are at a very sensitive and impressionable age in college. This is why they must navigate this phase of their lives carefully to keep their sanity and stature. They must also be encouraged to ask for professional care if needed. The mental health of students is in general quite fragile and even the smallest hint of any mental disorder should not be overlooked under any circumstances.
- Dr Yamini Kannappan, MBBS, DPM, DNB is a Consultant- Psychiatrist, at Kauvery Hospital, Chennai