“I think it’s really important to take the stigma away from mental health… My brain and my heart are really important to me.
I don’t know why I wouldn’t seek help to have those things be as healthy as my teeth.”
— Kerry Washington
Student’s Mental Health – Why it is important and what support needs to be given.
Mental Health is no more a less discussed topic and we have learnt to give it equal importance as physical and clinical conditions of health. Academic life starts at the school-going age and continues till young adulthood. Students, being young individuals go through innumerable mental ups and downs throughout their academic career due to continuous changes and new challenges in life and education. Study-related stress, hormonal and physical changes during adolescence and puberty, social and familial conditions and issues, health conditions – all these factors impact the Student’s mind greatly.
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Why Student’s Mental Health is an Important Aspect
A student’s mental state is interlinked with their physical condition. It determines their performance in academics and life in general. Mental health is also important for dealing with different situations and challenges one encounters in life. Good mental health of a student enhances their learning ability, creativity, and interest in learning. It helps an individual obtain undisrupted focus which is necessary for studies. Good mental health promotes better clinical conditions leading to prolonged life expectancy. It helps in building good behavioral habits and a positive mentality. A student who grows up in a happy atmosphere maintained by their parents and teachers can develop skills, good habits, and character better than a child who is growing up in a challenging ambiance.
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Most Frequently Encountered Signs of Mental Health Issues by Students
Students with impaired coping ability encounter the thoughts of ending a life to escape an adverse situation. Mood, talks, and behavior are some of the indicators through which it may be detected if an individual is having suicidal thoughts.
Anxiety is more than just a feeling of too much worry. It is often noticed that individuals with traumatic past experiences go through severe anxiety. Frequent stomach issues, pain in the head and muscles, Irritability & restlessness, dehydration due to disproportionate sweating, uncontrollable stress, asthmatic feeling, etc. are a few of the signs of Anxiety. Anxiety disorders include types such as – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorders, and others.
Students can go through depression due to failed expectations of self, parents, and/or teachers, peer pressure, etc. Changes in dietary habits, sleeping abnormalities (Less or excessive sleeping), Difficulty in understanding and completing tasks in the educational institution, changes in behavior, etc. can be noticed in a depressed student.
Eating disorders in students may occur from dissatisfaction with their appearance, depression and anxiety, tension, etc. Regular practice of eating very smaller portions or binging, intentionally throwing up after having a meal, skipping meals, etc. lead to persistent eating disorders.
Addiction & Abuse of Substances
Students suffering from mental disorders or illnesses for a long time may get addicted to narcotics and other drugs. Such illicit practices lead young individuals to other critical mental and physical diseases demolishing their academic careers and future.
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How to Detect Mental Illness in Students
Notice and monitor students’ behavior and habits minutely. Persistent changes in these two factors may indicate abnormalities in the mental state of the child. Follow their performance at school and exams. Sudden change in concentration while studying, and deterioration in academics indicate that the child is facing some kind of adverse changes in life. Spending lots of time alone, loss of interest in socializing, avoidance of eye contact, and usual facial expressions and body language can indicate that a student is suffering.
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Keeping a student’s mental health positive is a responsibility primarily for their parents, guardians, and teachers. Students, especially the young ones learn from their elders. Showing calmness, positivity and honesty encourage them to do the same. Promoting interaction with classmates and teachers among students helps them build bonding and handle relationships. Developing a good lifestyle and food habits keeps a human happy and healthy inside out. Give importance to their opinion and make them understand how their feelings and thoughts are valued. Teach a student according to their pace. Show them acceptance. Let the students express themselves as they are with an accepting and non-judgemental approach. Resources for mental health available at the campus can help students in need of the same and aid in their educational performance for good. Being dismissive about one’s thoughts, feelings or opinions can make the person disinterested in sharing a normal bond with another person. Avoiding such behavior towards students is highly recommended.
Sudenthood is the time when young individuals gather knowledge through studies and life experiences that prepare them for the rest of their life. A good state of Mental Health leads a student to become a successful and responsible citizen. So, a student must remain physically and mentally fit for a bright future and healthy life.
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