DALLE 2 Image of a stressed student
The current school climate is stressed through social and academic pressure, and every student experiences, to a degree, a level of exhaustion and distress from being a student. In times of such difficulties, it is important to remember what your position is as a student, as yourself, and as a member of your community and take appropriate steps to ensure a physically, and primarily mentally, healthy life. Want to know how what are those steps, and how you can become a healthy individual and a great student? Take a dive into this article to learn about managing mental health!
Understanding what causes different Mental Health issues
To a large extent, the most common reason for any mental health strains a student experiences comes from Stress and Lack of Support (”Student life and mental health”). However there could be other reasons which are unique to your situation and experience, but regardless, the ways to confront the issue, outlined in this article, can help you manage some parts of the problems. The information and exploration come from professionals from organizations such as Mind (a non-profit meant to help students and adults better approach mental health, NHS Mental Health Awareness (a guide for mental health from the National Health Service) and World Health Organisation (understanding different aspects of mental health by the WHO)
Taking a deeper look at the reason:
- Stress: Being a student, or just being a young person, is full of struggle and battles. From social to academic pressure, the need to display and become a certain idealistic view causes a lot of people to undergo stress-raged moments. Stress is our reaction when we are under pressure and/or feel threatened (where anything from academic failure to social exclusion is considered a direct threat). The fear of anything alternative is fueling your worries and weariness. Such moments are an efficient fuel for growing mental health problems. However, this is a common feeling, and you should not be ashamed to acknowledge your stress – regardless of the cause. Battling such worries is hard, and difficult to create a one for all formula, however, seeing that other people have been able to manage their stress efficiently and successfully, we will explore some more overarching methods to address stress.
- Lack of support: Everyone experiences a realization that they are growing, that they will be expected to manage others and themselves in the future, and start taking on more concrete and heavy ideas to understand themselves, and in such moments students usually develop mental health problems. Becoming an adult is hard, and in your teenage years, it is harder as you are restricted by your inability to access adult freedom but are abstained from the world of childhood wonder. There are many ways to confront this, and it is an issue that, at the end of the day, has a unique set of solutions for you. We will explore how to find such solutions and what areas of help you can seek to better understand the problem in the real world.
Confronting the issue
Managing and building resilience:
Understanding what managing and building resilience can vary depending on the individual, but at its core Managing your mental health confronts the ability to acknowledge the issue and understand what steps work for you to move past any harmful effects of the problem. While building resilience is the understanding of what factors played a role in the emergence of the initial mental health problem, and working upon distancing, or confronting, the factors to ensure you are no further prone to any escalation (or in a matter limiting the extent of the escalation) (”Stress”).
How to manage:
- Be kind to yourself: Learn to be kinder to yourself. Reward your achievements, regardless of how small or insignificant they may seem, and try to avoid the harmful negative talk. There is a difference between acknowledging your flaws and harmful negative talk, where one is about realizing where you have to improve or work upon while the other is about judgmentally limiting your potential and actuality.
- Develop your interest and hobbies: Spending time with things you enjoy helps you alleviate any stress built up by putting you in a comforting and relaxing environment. It also further, momentarily at least, distracts you from things that caused the stress initially. Contemplating stress for too long can have its own issues, and avoiding it momentarily is beneficial for your growth and health.
- Try to find time to relax: Sometimes the thing that is causing your stress may be out of your control, but either way, being able to take a momentary rest can help you better understand your situation and issue. Take a day off, or sleep in a couple of times. It may sound atrocious to do so if your stress is connected to the idea of relaxing (such as feeling you are not doing enough), but taking a break from all the worry and resting at the moment is a helpful tool. You can read more about how to properly rest here
- Look after your physical health: Staying physically active, sleeping enough and eating properly and regularly can go a long way in managing stress. It allows you more control over another aspect of your life, increasing your wellbeing and mental outlook on stress itself. However, sometimes it may be hard to manage your physical health, but any small change to ensure a healthier physical self makes a difference.
Building a support group
Research has shown how having a support network helps confront issues by building resilience (“Stress”). Finding help from your support group can make it easier to confront stress and other issues. Some of the most prevalent support groups are:
- Friends and Family: Reach out to people who are closest to you, which is commonly your friends or family but it can be anyone you are closest to, and you can speak about your feelings with them. Have a place where you can share everything you are going through without judgment or any possible negative feedback. It is good to have someone who can hear you.
- Support in your environment: You can find support groups in your school, workplace, clubs, or anything outside your close circle. You usually find either people or specific groups, created/made to help people experiencing your issues. Such a place can be a good place to open up, as it does not push your boundaries in opening up/ being vulnerable in front of your friends or family. Some people find it hard to be vulnerable with their close circle, as such these support groups can be beneficial for them.
- Therapist: Therapists can be a good private environment to unwind from everything that is happening, regardless if you are experiencing mental health issues. Furthermore, therapists can provide you with tested and effective methods of confronting the issue on a more individual level. Or they even can be a good listening partner, someone you can tell everything to without fear of criticism or confrontation.
You can read more methods, and more in depth in mind.org.uk.
In conclusion, there are some ways to confront any mental health issues, and it is completely fine to try to find some ways to confront the problem. Try not to feel pressured into following everything advised, but it is always important to remember to seek out help. Your mental health plays as much of a role as your physical health in your life.
“Student life and mental health”. Mind. March 2023. https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/student-life/about-student-mental-health/
“Stress”. Mind. March 2022. https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/student-life/about-student-mental-health/