- April 27, 2020
Mental Health in College Students
MentalHealth in College Students
Today,the students in the American colleges are facing numerous problemsthat have contributed to mental illnesses. Collegeis a time for academic and personal growth for the young adults.However, these individuals face stressors that are not common amongtheir peers who are not pursuing higher education (Hunt,Speer, and Eisenberg 5).Itis common to find college students experiencing varying degrees ofmental issues, which are attributed to both academic and non-academicfactors such as family, personal relationships, and work life(Saleem, Naz, and Mahmood 124). According to research, the number ofstudents visiting the mental health centers in their colleges hasincreased in the last one year. Anxietyand depression are the widespread mental problems treated in colleges(Aldiabat, Matani, and Navenec 211). Survey shows thatthe cases of depression anxiety are higher in the last decade asstudies show that 97 percent of students report experiencingoverwhelming situations that lead to anxiety while 60 percentindicated that they were too depressed to carry out their normaldaily functions.The students also experience eating disorders, self-injury, andsubstance abuse, which are often overlooked, but they are equallyserious problems. Therefore,years spent in college are characterized by academic and non-academicchallenges that can result in mental health issues leading to poorperformance in school, social and physical health problems, andincreased financial burden for the society.
Causesof mental problems among college students
Oneof the leading causes of mental health concerns among collegestudents is the academic pressure. The young people are at a stage inlife when they realize that they choices have a direct impact ontheir future. Besides, they are usually under pressure from theirparents or family members to study and have excellent grades.Sometimes, the students fail to accomplish the high grades theydesire or cope with their low achievements. Therefore, this kind ofpressure is a mental health risk factor because it increases thestress levels causing issues such as anxiety and depression (Hunt,Speer, and Eisenberg 4).Additionally, the students face numerous financial burdens, whichinterfere with proper studying and increase the stress levels. Thecollege students have to deal with increased tuition fees in themidst of decreased financial support from the government and studentsloans with high interest rates (Zivinet al. 180).
Collegelife includes a change in lifestyle and adopting a pattern that ischaracterized by binge drinking, unhealthy eating habits, andincreased sexual activities.On the other hand, campus separates students from the usual socialsupport network, which creates a gap in their life. The students arein an environment where they have the freedom to make choices on thetype of activities they can perform. Some of these young people fillthe void by engaging in unhealthy and risky behavior that increasesthe likelihood of having mental problems. Assuch, substanceand alcohol abuse is a common practice in institutions of higherlearning(Saleem, Naz, and Mahmood 125).For example, bingedrinking in colleges has resulted in alcohol abuse while six percentof the students show symptoms of alcohol dependence (Glasheen et al.43). Patterns of sexual activity also have a significant impact onthe students’ mental health. Studies indicate strong patterns ofsexual assaults in colleges, which are linked to the drinking habits.Estimates suggest that every year a large number of students areattacked by their intoxicated colleagues. Moreover, 97,000 studentsare victims of date rape or alcohol-related sexual assaults. Peerpressure also increases the possibility of drugs and alcohol useamong college students. Moreover, substances such as tobacco,alcohol, and marijuana are commonly used by students because they areeasily accessible(Glasheen et al. 43).Research shows that substance abuse is linked to impairedrelationships, inefficiencies in various activities, and possiblelegal problems. Eventually, these issues result in anxiety, stress,and depression (Sarokhaniet al., 2).
Accordingto research, sleep deprivation is common for most students incollege. Many young people rarely sleep as they spend most of theirtime engaging in other activities that they consider enjoyable thus,denying their bodies the much-needed rest. Studies indicate that theaverage college students who engage in minimal extra-curricularactivities sleep for almost six hours hence, their activecounterparts rest for fewer hours(Aldiabat, Matani, and Navenec 210).Therefore, the poor sleeping patterns are likely to cause mentalissues associated with fatigue. Additionally, the psychologicalproblems have been attributed to the eating habits of the collegestudents. Today, unhealthy eating is on the rise as people find itmuch easier to buy junk food because they are cheaper and availablewhenever needed. According to a study conducted in the 1980s, fourpercent of the college students had eating disorders, but this numberhas currently increased to 20 percent. Consequently, the studentsgain unhealthy weight resulting in a negative body image, which cancause stress or emotional issues(Zivinet al. 181).
Consequencesof mental problems among college students
Expertsexplain that majority of all mental disorders begin duringmid-twenties, but most of these issues are not treated for almost adecade despite having effective treatment plans. On the other hand,if these problems are left untreated, the symptoms always escalate inseverity and frequency, which make the conditions treatment-resistant(Pedrelli et al. 504). Therefore, the mental health problems affect aperson’s social, physical, and emotional health. Students withpsychological problems can experience problems when interacting withothers on the campus, which may lead to isolation. Then again,loneliness can lead to more severe mental problems such asdepression. The students with psychological health have a reducedquality of life because they are unable to enjoy and benefit fromcollege experiences. Young adulthood is accompanied by curiosity,involvement, and the desire to try out new experiences. However,learners with mental disorders lack the determination found in theirpeers. These young adults also encounter difficulties in theirphysical health. Mental health problems cause sleep difficulties,which makes it hard to concentrate, particularly in class. Researchhas found that negative emotional conditions can affect the body’simmune system making it hard to fight disease (Pedrelli et al. 509).Hence, the students get sick often and use more health care services.
Poormental health also results in academic difficulties (Saleem, Naz, andMahmood 125). Psychological health issues result in poor academicperformance, and eventually some of the students leave schoolaltogether. Studies show that more than 64 percent of students withmental disorders withdraw from colleges because they are unable torelate to other people in the campus or attend classes. In severecases, some students attempt or commit suicide (Saleem, Naz, andMahmood 124). Nonetheless, some students graduate despite theirpsychological issues, but they are less productive in the workplace.Therefore, mental problems among college students indirectlycontribute to reduced human capital in the country. Likewise, thereare substantial consequences to the institution and the society. Theillnesses affect the family members, friends, and fellow students.The ripple effect of mental illness continues as colleges and societyhave to care for the people who lack the ability to carry out dailyfunctions of their life. The students who leave school due topsychological issues require medical care and social services such asunemployment insurance, which add to the government expenditure.According to research, the total cost of medical services for youngadults under 25 years is approximately $250 billion every year. Inmost cases, the school drop outs end up using unhealthy copingbehaviors and engaging in criminal activities (Hunt, Speer, andEisenberg 4). The institutions can also experience the impact ofmental health due to lost fees, tuition, or alumni donations.
Researchshows that suitable psychological services are necessary to helpstudents with behavioral and mental problems by reducing thepotential negative effect they other people including their friends,roommates, faculty, and staff. The current prevalence rate ofdepression in institutions of higher learning is 33 percent(Sarokhaniet al. 4).Thecolleges provide counseling services to address the student’spersonal and emotional concerns. They also offer educational andself-help materials to help students mitigate the challenges theyencounter in the course of their school life (Aldiabat, Matani, andNavenec 212). The institutions of higher learning have put in effortsto address the problems by increasing the number of counseling staffand psychiatric consulting hours. Besides,some colleges have integrated the counseling sessions into theacademic timetable to ensure that they reach even the students whoare reluctant to seek help(Aldiabat, Matani, and Navenec 213).
Obstaclesstudents encounter when seeking mental heath services
Youngadults should receive appropriate treatment for mental problems toincrease the prevalence and reduce the severity of the disorders.However, they encounter various obstacles preventing the studentsfrom seeking medical assistance, but these challenges vary betweencolleges and students. Stigma is the leading barrier that studentsencounter when seeking psychological health services in campuses(Czyz et al. 3). Mental illness is slightly stigmatized, especiallyamong young people. Thus, college students rarely seek medical helpwhenever they encounter the first signs of mental problems (Hunt,Speer, and Eisenberg 11). Most young adults prefer to suffer insilence than be ridiculed or avoided by their colleagues because thismakes college life even more challenging. Others believe that they donot need treatment for their condition because they assume thatself-management will be enough to deal with the disorder (Hunt,Speer, and Eisenberg 12). For example, some students believe thatstress is a normal part of college life thus, there is no need toseek professional help. Moreover, privacy concerns deter studentsfrom seeking professional. For example, the technology has made iteasy for people to share information thus, it can be difficult forthe patients to recover if their peers are sharing the informationonline (Aldiabat, Matani, and Navenec 211). Others reasons why manystudents refuse to seek mental help include lack of time, concernsabout confidentiality, and uncertainty about the outcome (Czyz et al.5).
Waysto improve current mental health services
Anindividual’s performance in college determines their careerpreparation and development. Currently, the United States redundancyrate for persons with mental illness is 15 percent lower than thosewithout mental disorders. Therefore, people with psychologicaldisorders are more unlikely to be unemployment as compared to theircounterparts without any mental conditions. When colleges fail toaddress psychological health issues effectively, they are notadequately preparing the young adults for the requirements after thegraduations. Accordingly, the institutions of higher learning shouldimplement various strategies to encourage more students to seek help(Hunt, Speer, and Eisenberg 15). The most significant approach thecampuses can use to prevent mental disorders from escalating is toraise awareness. The strategy would also include sponsoring studentorganizations, suicide prevention activities, peer-to-peer mentoring,and support and providing information regarding psychologicalproblems. Besides, the administration should explain the policies andprocedures the students should observe when seeking counseling ormental health services. Such initiatives will raise more awarenessthus, prompt the students to seek help whenever they encounter anyissue related to mental disorder before it escalates and becomealmost untreatable. Additionally, they also need to train the staffon issues relating to mental problems (Aldiabat, Matani, and Navenec212). In most cases, students with mental disorders have disruptivebehaviors hence, the intervention of trained staff will helpminimize the danger of self-injury or causing any harm to others.
Thenagain, institutions of higher learning should develop and implementstrategies that promote confidential services to address the mentalproblems adequately. The plan can be effective if colleges createpartnerships with various parts of the institution such as thecounseling and mental health center, learning center, spiritual andreligious organizations, and student health services. A comprehensiveplan that will include the facets of psychotherapy, prevention,treatment, and academics will enable the colleges to adequatelyensure that the services meet the diverse psychological and personalneeds of the students. Moreover, the college counseling and mentalhealth programs should reform their outreach services to address thestudents concerns (Hunt, Speer, and Eisenberg 15).
Inconclusion, mental illness is affecting a large number of collegestudents than any other group disability. Campus life ischaracterized by numerous challenges, which can increase emotionaland psychological problems among students. The transition from thesociety to college life is usually challenging for some students asthey find it difficult to relate to their peers. The pressure toachieve academic excellent can affect the student’s mental health.Additionally, the young people are likely to try out new thing andengage in inappropriate behavior such as binge drinking and substanceabuse. Therefore, this group of people is exposed to higher levels ofstressors than any other population in the country’s history.Although research shows that most mental disorders occur during youngadulthood, most people do not seek treatment. Students encounterchallenges when seeking help due to the stigma associated with mentalillnesses. Besides, some young adults believe that stress is a normalpart of studying thus, they do not find it necessary to seekprofessional help. Mental disorders affect the social and physicalhealth of a person. The students with behavioral and psychologicalproblems usually find it difficult to interact with their peers.Therefore, they are isolated, which worsens the condition and affectstheir academic performance. Some of these students also drop out ofschool thus, they cause financial challenges to the society. In somecases, such individuals engage in unhealthy coping behavior andcriminal activities. Additionally, they require social welfare tocater for their medical needs. Even so, some students refuse to seekhelp because they fear of stigma associated with mental illnesses,which would make their life more difficult in college. They alsoencounter barriers such as financial constraints, lack of time, andprivacy concerns as they seek medical help. Young adulthood is athrilling, but a vulnerable stage in life, during which availabilityof mental health programs and services is vital. Therefore, collegeshave to educate their students on mental health issues and encouragethem to seek help whenever they encounter behavioral, emotional, orpsychological problems. Education is also vital to reduce the stigmaassociated with mental conditions and seeking assistance. Therefore,the students, faculty, and staff will learn how to separate theperception of an individual from their mental condition. Theinstitutions should also expand their outreach services to help eventhose students who are reluctant to seek help. If such measures areimplemented, the colleges will ensure that every student graduates tobecome a productive member of the society.
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