Mental health needs of today’s college students: challenges and recommendations

By Daviender Narang

Normally in our society, a person with mental health problems is considered as a weak person, sometimes even treated as a mad and inconsistent person. Instead of addressing the issue head on, people try to isolate him; they often face stigma, which can prevent them from seeking help and hinder their recovery. Mental health problems are very common among college students. In fact, it is becoming a burning issue for the academics and students are the most crucial victims. With their young mind and naive attitude, they are unable to address this particular issue. However, education professionals have recognized the impact that a student’s mental health has on learning and achievement, and they realize that there’s a great deal that can be done to help students with mental health issues.

A better personality is dependent on both good physical and mental health. Good mental health is when you feel positive about yourself and cope well with the everyday pressures. If you experience issues dealing with everyday problems, it could be a sign of a mental health problem and should be addressed immediately. Students with poor mental health often feel exhausted, depressed, fed up or anxious. They behave in a distant and withdrawn way. If not addressed in a correct time, it will lead to many serious problems. Students seclude themselves very often, when they fail to find a solution. They display a low self esteem, have the desire to withdraw from the world; they constantly have the feelings of shame, hopelessness and / or helplessness. They lose interest in activities they once loved. The matter becomes worse since students often downplay or simply never talk about things deeply bothering them. They prefer to stay quiet due to insecurity, fear of standing out, or embarrassment. Multiple studies have shown that students’ excessive use of social media has a direct link with poor mental health. It is noticed that students often do so because they are either bored, need an escape from their immediate physical environment, are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, are lonely, have few real-time friends or need to feel appreciated and validated. The use of social media has also resulted in many youths being subjected to harassment, embarrassment, humiliation, stalked, threatened and becoming victims of fraud through social media.

Recognizing signs of poor mental health is difficult; however, it is not impossible. Simply acknowledging its existence can solve half of the problem. There can be many ways when adopted can address this issue in a professional way. Few solutions can be of help are given below:

  • Maintaining a healthy and systematic lifestyle can work wonders.
  • Creating a daily routine that prioritizes looking after of self
  • Eating well as well as taking a healthy diet
  • Staying physically active has become a prerequisite for improving psychological well being. Youth of today should be encouraged to take sports activities, develop an exercise regime.
  • There is a need for better communication. Students need to develop a habit of making easy and open communication with their parents, peers, teachers and siblings. They need to spend quality time with family and friends rather than gluing to their phone and laptop.
  • Students need to curtail their screen time which is a major culprit in their daily routine. Unstructured time creates boredom, spike anxiety and depression.

In a nutshell, it can be opined that issues like mental health among youth should be recognized in the first place and they need to be acted upon with utmost urgency. Creating awareness among youth, encouraging them to seek help will also help to a great extent. Awareness towards mental health and mental well being need to be included in their curriculum so as to make youth aware of problems.

The author is the director of the Jaipuria Institute of Management.

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