In a number of countries, students attending university are suffering from a number of difficult symptoms of mental illness … and they are suffering silently. Because such a large number of students are affected by symptoms of stress and anxiety disorders, most don’t receive help for their suffering, and consequently they have a difficult time managing their coursework.
A study in Britain reported that 26% of students who claim to experience mental health problems during their time at a university do not seek help. In a country where 23% of adults experience a mental disorder in any given year, this could result in serious side effects that cost the younger generation as a whole.
What they are suffering from?
The same study in Britain reported a number of common symptoms that a huge number of the university students claimed to experience. Symptoms of stress, for example, were reported in 80% of students. Though not uncommon, since higher education involves a large courseload and other social pressures that would stress out even the most level-headed person, stress often leads to more serious problems like anxiety, feelings of panic, insomnia, and depression, if left untreated — which has an obviously adverse impact on the quality of student work and rate of student success.
As evidence of these complaints, consider the following statistics: 70% of students experience a lack of energy and motivation to complete work, 55% experience anxiety, 50% experience insomnia, 38% have symptoms involving panic, and 13-14% consider suicide or self-harm.
Triggers, and how we can help
The triggers for these mental health problems aren’t surprising. Students said the most common triggers for their mental health problems were coursework deadlines, exams, financial difficulties, the pressure to fit in, and homesickness. While these are all largely unavoidable factors, there are a number of ways to assist students who suffer from mental health difficulties.
It starts with letting them know that the best course of action is to seek help. About 64% of students suffering from mental health problems do not seek help from their university counseling service, or an alternative. Letting students know there are ways to deal with their stressors is the first step in alleviating the symptoms.
The first step to alleviating symptoms is to understand your illness, and recognize that though it may be possible to live with your symptoms, that may not be the best way to live. Students can be happy and relaxed, even with the stress of a hefty workload and social pressures. It is only a matter of understanding relaxation strategies, and knowing to seek help when you need it.