We can all agree that the importance of mental health has changed on campus over the past few years, especially after Covid-19. There has always been a stigma surrounding students’ validity and gravity of mental health. Still, this stigma has made progress into becoming an everyday reality as of late.
“During the pandemic, about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, a share that has been largely consistent, up from one in ten adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019″.According to kff.org.
This statistic is proof that the pandemic worsened mental health and spurred an advanced need for new awareness surrounding mental health.
While college provides its fair share of challenges, there are many ways that you put your mind at ease and improve your focus and general mental health. In addition to speaking to a counselor or calling a loved one, you also improve your wellness by taking a walk.
It’s true. While regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy body and strong bones, mindful practices can also help you strengthen your mind and fight the stress that college life can bring. Let’s talk more about what you can add to your health regimen.
As Mental Health Awareness Month is coming to a close, making sure our mental health is a priority should be the focus for the next few months. Over the past few years, I and many others on campus have found that, since the pandemic, student mental health has declined drastically. Even in myself, I discovered that it has become that much more critical for me to set aside time in my schedule to prioritize myself and my own well-being. With all the activities, time, and social interaction lost from the ceaseless pandemic, students’ mental health everywhere has been diminished.
As a college student myself, I have found that there were things I did that helped me maintain good mental health before I got to college last summer and the summer before.
College is a wonderful time in your life. You meet new people, grow beyond your existing ideas, and are constantly working towards the goal of self-improvement.
But, there’s no doubt that college is stressful, too. Socializing, learning, and developing a career is hard, and accumulating debt can feel overwhelming.
Combine these stressors with the past few years’ events, and you are sure to feel a little frazzled.
But, in the long run, college is undoubtedly worth it. You make friendships that last a lifetime and add serious value to your career potential. You’ll also learn to appreciate life in new and novel ways, as that elective in literature might just spark a love of reading and critical thinking.
Can you recall a time you’ve felt pressure to perform to high standards? The stress in high school is different from what comes in college. With the stakes higher, academic stress can sneak up and create many issues for students transitioning into college.
What is Academic Stress?
It’s inevitable that students in college will be stressed, and for many different reasons. Maybe your scholarship requires you to have specific grades to remain eligible, or you’re a first-gen college student, and you feel pressure from your family to do well. The cost of tuition alone can be a financial burden on college families, and maybe yours is also feeling the strain.
This can bring anxiety and thoughts that higher education isn’t worth it or that the responsibility will be too much. We want you to know that feeling this way isn’t unusual and is even shared among many students. But don’t worry, you are not alone in this. We are here to help!
What is Mental Health, and Why is it Important to Understand?
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time for us to discuss and remember that taking care of our mental well-being is essential. Those living with mental health conditions deserve understanding, respect and compassion, and most importantly, tools for coping, healing, and fulfillment.
What is Mental Health?
According to the CDC, “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.”
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, poor mental health and mental illness are different. Mental illnesses are diagnosed conditions that affect thoughts and behaviors. Though anyone can have moments of poor mental health, not everyone has a mental illness. A person can experience poor mental health and not be diagnosed with a mental illness. Likewise, a person diagnosed with a mental illness can experience periods of poor physical, mental, and social well-being.
Maintaining good mental health during one of the most stressful times of the year for college students can be tricky, so it’s crucial to have many tips, tricks, and resources to turn to when things become too difficult to handle.
First things first, avoid burnout and create a healthy routine. With enough time allocated to self-care, it’s important that you maintain good mental health. Stress from school can manifest in many different emotional and physical symptoms, so knowing how to cope with these will give you an edge up. Keep reading for six of the most important healthy ways to reduce stress during finals week, according to Active Minds.
Exercise is about so much more than just physical strength. While it’s primarily your body that benefits from regular exercise, your mind is greatly uplifted by frequent movement, too.
You can think of exercise as a way to kill two birds with only one stone—physical strength and mental strength. College students are almost always in need of a boost to keep them going throughout their studies, which is why exercise is so important.
Exams, all-nighters, night shifts, and extracurricular activities all require a significant amount of mental and physical energy.
If you’re feeling bogged down and foggy-headed with a mountain of work to overcome, consider hitting the gym or park. It’ll give you a performance boost that stretches through the classroom and into all areas of life.
There are a lot of factors that contribute to getting an adequate amount of quality sleep, especially in college. Quality is a keyword here, as it doesn’t only matter how much sleep one gets, but actually how well one sleeps. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep is vital because it plays a vital role in your health and maintaining your well-being throughout your life. Getting consistent and good quality sleep can help protect your physical and mental health by supporting healthy brain function, growth, and development. Not getting enough good sleep regularly could lead to a lot of serious issues.
In college, getting adequate amounts and quality of sleep becomes increasingly important because it directly affects your ability to learn, retain, and apply the information and knowledge being taught in class. Getting a consistent amount of sleep can be challenging each night, but figuring out a schedule and routine is crucial to having a successful college career.
We all go through periods of self-doubt, feelings of sadness and despair, and a lack of motivation. Sometimes we don’t want to share this with others. Other times, we may have had people there for us. It’s essential to be there for people we love when struggling with their mental health.
The past few years have been difficult for many amidst the pandemic. Many young adults are struggling with their mental health, and it’s important to know what signs to look out for. Read on for what to look for and how to offer support.
21% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2020 (52.9 million people). This represents 1 in 5 adults.Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration
Looking Out for Signs
Mental health is a very sensitive subject that many people tend to undermine, and it can be uncomfortable to talk about. Knowing the signs to look out for in your friends who might be struggling with mental health issues is crucial, so we are able to support them when they need us most. Some things to look out for when trying to distinguish when a friend of yours might be struggling with their mental health are sudden changes in behavior, appearance, mood, or actions.