College and university years are supposed to be some of the best years in the lives of young adults. They are the time when individuals get to explore adulthood, enjoy more freedom, and discover more about who they really are or what they’re passionate about.
Education sounds nice on paper, but real life doesn’t always work out like that. The issue of mental health in schools has come under the spotlight a lot in recent years, with some questioning whether there’s a mental health crisis in these institutions, in particular.
Students are facing rising college bills and more rigorous examinations at the same time as support for teaching staff is declining and classroom sizes are growing. Being in education can be hugely challenging and stressful.
Below is an overview of this issue and what is being done to address mental health in a school setting.
Support for Stressed Students
Teachers and lecturers are strapped for time and resources, and this means that they are unable to provide their students with the support that they need on an individual basis. While many institutions do have counselors or student services that can help people who are struggling to cope with exam stress or the pressures of living in halls or independent residences, not all students know that such services exist. On the other hand, some students may fear that their problems are “not important enough” for them to seek help with or may be anxious about admitting that they are struggling to cope.
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In many cases, all a student needs is some help to process the problems they are having, so that they can find a coping strategy for their feelings.1
Anyone Can Experience Stress
Stress and mental health issues are common among young people, whether they are students or not.2 It wasn’t all that long ago that students were seen as a privileged population, but they are not immune to stress or mental health issues. Most lifetime mental health disorders show their first onset by the age of 24, so providing students with support for mental health in schools could be a crucial way of helping those students develop into adults who have good coping strategies for their struggles.3
Significant amounts of research have been conducted about ways that parents, counselors, and administrators can help overwhelmed students cope with their stressors in a healthy way.4
Self Care Should Not Be Boring
It’s normal for students, especially those moving away from home, to struggle to adapt at first. The good news is that if you’re willing to plan ahead a little and set boundaries and a schedule, you can succeed. Yes, it’s fun to go out and party from time to time, but don’t forget that you will have lectures the next day. If you’re tired and can’t focus on your lectures, you will struggle with assignments and become even more stressed out.
Eating good food, getting some exercise, and going to bed at a sensible time may not seem like living the dream at college, but it will help you avoid being stressed out.5 That’s not to say that you shouldn’t make time for fun. Being involved with the social side of college is important and it’s still possible to incorporate social events into your schedule while maintaining a focus on academics. It’s just important to be proactive about staying on top of your day-to-day work.
Pampering yourself can help too. The Zen blend is ideal for students who are frustrated with unproductive group members, struggling with assignments, or just irritated with their part-time job. A blend of orange, frankincense, and ylang-ylang, it is a terpene pen that is great for reducing stress and anxiety at the end of a long day.
Aromatherapy alone won’t be enough to overcome the challenges of being a student, but it can provide some much-needed relaxation in one of the most stressful environments.
The Importance of a Social Network
One of the most important factors that can help with mental health in schools is peer support. If students feel empowered and have someone to talk to that understands them and their challenges, then they may find themselves more resilient when faced with challenges.
If you are a student and are struggling to cope with stressors, remember your options:
- If you are struggling with work and finances, see if there are scholarships available so you can reduce your hours and focus on your studies.
- If you are struggling with course content, speak up early on. You may be able to get tutoring or attend extra classes.
- If you are finding an assignment difficult, stay in touch with your professor or teaching assistant. Ask them for advice.
- Some people do end up needing to take a year out to get their lives in order. There is no shame in this and the life experience you get will be invaluable.
Sometimes, getting that grade on an essay or exam or heading to the big of the end-of-the-year party might seem like the most important thing in your life.
However, remember that your mental and physical health is the most important. Cut out people from your life if they bring you down. Accept that you cannot always do everything that you want to and that this is OK. Plan ahead, and put yourself first. The future you will be eternally grateful for you making smart decisions now.
Photo credits: JasminkoIbrakovic/shutterstock.com, KamilMacniak/shutterstock.com, Sorn34Images/shutterstock.com