Are you currently or were once a university student? If you answered yes, you probably remember the late nights studying, the deadlines that seem to never end, the cost of tuition, and trying to maintain a job on top of classes. University has many benefits, but undoubtedly it comes with its fair share of stress.
To be quite honest, the numbers are disturbing to hear! The most concerning mental health issue among college students is anxiety. It is estimated that 41.6% of students suffer from anxiety closely followed by depression at 36.4%. Approximately 48% of students think that mental health issues have impacted their education in some way. If these numbers weren’t bad enough, the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t helped them in any way. A recent study suggests that approximately 95% of college students believe that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lastly, and most concerning, approximately 9% of students have reported attempting suicide and almost 20% have reported self-injurous behaviours. Many universities have noted this rising issue and provide different mental health services and clinics for their students to access, and these services are seeing more and more activity, especially now since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are some ways you as a student can improve your mental health:
- Exercise: I know many people already know this, but it is very true. A regular exercise routine has countless benefits for your mental health. It improves depression, anxiety, and ADHD, memory, concentration, and your mood. So, as a student, take a break from the books and take some time to exercise and destress.
- Meditation: Meditation also has its share of benefits. It improves concentration and relieves stress. It overall strengthens your self-esteem and increases a positive mindset. So, even if it is for a short time, take a moment to calm your mind and distance yourself from the stress of school.
- Maintain Social Connection: Most times, feelings of loneliness and social isolation can lead to depression. They are two very similar mental health issues and many students feel lonely. So, keep seeing your friends. Maintain your relationships as best as you can and don’t let yourself fall into the rhythm of “eat, school, sleep”. Foster your social life and have fun with your friends and family.
With mental health issues becoming a growing concern in university students, it is everyone’s responsibility to make sure the students in your life are taking care of themselves. If you see any warning signs in yourself or others that indicate any mental health issues, remember to seek help. To avoid issues, remember to not let the stress of school take over your life; remember to take time for yourself and ease your mind!
Blog post by Ethan Andrews, Volunteer.
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