Psychologists have grown wary, if not more aware, of the mental health trends among college students. As per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 80% of college students often or sometimes feel stressed while 34% reported feeling depressed within the last 90 days. But it gets worse: The Associated Press reported that 10% of college students had experienced suicidal ideation.
With this trend in mind, psychologists have looked into the issue and shared some tips for students who are struggling.
Know What To Do About Test Anxiety
A licensed clinical social worker in New York City named Melissa Cohen stated that test anxiety has been prevalent among college students. At its simplest definition, test anxiety is the phenomenon of the condition before or after tests. Although it’s normal for students to feel nervousness before or after tests, it’s not healthy to experience test anxiety regularly and increased intensity.
To prevent test anxiety, Cohen advised students to study effectively to curb the test jitters. Moreover, Cohen suggested learning relaxation techniques, so when the fear strikes, college students would know how to comfort themselves.
Get Enough Sleep
Research studies have consistently shown that a complete cycle of sleep is essential for anyone’s bodily functions. The Harvard Medical School warned that sleep problems could most likely lead to developing mental illnesses. However, college students tend to disregard this in favor of academic requirements to be finished by the end of the night.
Psychologists have repeatedly advised people who are sleep deprived to complete an eight-hour sleep cycle. After all, what’s the point of grades and academic accomplishments if it’s the cost of their health?
“Getting enough sleep is important for your health and happiness,” wrote Jade Wu, PhD.
Be Connected With Friends
Humans are social beings; forging and maintaining social connections and relationships are essential to keep a person’s mental health int shape. And while it seems that the university gives many opportunities for this, a lot of college students still feel lonesome. Instead of taking the time to talk to friends or make new ones, a typical college student may choose to lock themselves in the library and study for an upcoming exam.
Does that mean that college students should devote a large portion of their time for social interaction? Not necessarily. Roger Covin, PhD, a psychologist from Ottawa, noted that each person differs from their need for social interaction. Some may need more than the others and vice versa. “Almost everyone has a fundamental need to be liked by other people. It is a healthy and normal part of life, he wrote.
A common problem why most college students feel lonesome is that they’re too shy to initiate conversations. For that type of student, Covin recommended joining school organizations or activities. These places are the perfect opportunities to meet new people who have the same interests.
Utilize Campus Mental Health Services
University mental health services are great avenues to receive mental health support without costing the student a single dime. University counselors not only provide career and daily living advice, but they are also trained to provide therapy. If needed, they can refer students to campus-accredited psychiatrists or coordinate with professors regarding the workload of the students.
College students frequently shy away from university mental health services because of the stigma that comes with it. However, these university counselors are bound to keep your data and the results of your therapy session confidential. Moreover, not everyone who goes to counselors has mental illnesses. Counselors also service clients who have problems with career, family, relationships, and other issues on daily living.
Set Realistic Goals
College students often reach goals that are too unrealistic without them knowing. For example, they may strive to get a grade range of 90 – 100 in every subject of the semester while simultaneously aspiring for an executive position in an organization. Without giving leeway to themselves, these students could develop burn-out and, in some cases, depression and anxiety.
For this reason, college students should try to set realistic goals and set their pace at a manageable speed. Instead of striving to achieve a grade of 90 – 100, college students should try to get an above average grade range of 85 – 90. They should also ensure that they give time to themselves while trying to achieve these goals.
“Effective goals are ones that are: A – Achievable, B – Believable, C – Committed,” said Frank L. Smoll, PhD.
Research studies and psychological organizations found that college students are susceptible to mental health problems. But with these tips in mind, college students could keep a healthy state of mind as well as prevent the development of mental health disorders that arise from stress. No grade is worth the deterioration of a student’s mental health.