Mental health issues can have serious consequences for students. Poor mental health can affect their quality of life and physical health. It also affects their relationships and academic achievement.
Many college students report that mental health issues interfere with their academic performance. Stress, anxiety, depression, and sleep difficulties can all have a negative impact on performance.
What are mental health issues?
Mental health issues can occur at different points in someone’s life based on various factors, from the environment to biology. Individual well-being comes from having good self-esteem.
Students with good self-esteem have solid relationships with others and the resilience to handle challenges. Those who suffer from mental health issues usually have poor self-esteem. They have difficulty relating to others and have a lower motivation to overcome challenges.
How prevalent is the problem?
Many young people in the U.S. suffer from anxiety and depression. College students often report feeling stressed and overwhelmed by their responsibilities. They have many challenges, from coursework to relationships and economic stress. This is a significant problem because it is associated with reduced academic achievement.
For nearly every metric, student mental health is deteriorating. In 2021, a national college health assessment survey was revealed. According to the American College Health Association, almost three-quarters of all students who took the survey reported moderate to severe psychological distress. Even before the pandemic, many schools saw a demand for the care they were unable to meet.
Science and health are linked. Scientific research indicates what consequences poor mental health has on academic performance. Student research suggests that stress and anxiety are associated with lower grade point averages. Co-occurring anxiety and depression can increase the association.
Students with such issues may battle to meet the cognitive demands of learning. They may have problems with the following:
- Planning and organization
A product of low self-esteem
In recent decades mental health issues have become more prevalent in adolescents and young adults. They distract from learning and interfere with the cognitive processes associated with it.
On the other hand, they can also be a product of low self-esteem and persistent feelings of failure. Students need support to help build their self-esteem. This can reduce their mental health issues and boost their academic performance.
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How to identify mental health issues
According to research, the best way to identify mental health issues is to use student questionnaires. They can help to measure and track the social, emotional and behavioral skills of students. Such screening efforts need to happen throughout the year to help identify students who may need support. It is important to identify and treat problems early. This means they are less likely to escalate or lead to mental illness.
Mental health care resources
Colleges need to take a multi-faceted approach to help students. Everyone at a college should help to create a nurturing and supportive environment.
Educators should have resources they can offer to students who need help. This may include easy-to-understand scientific research to show the consequences of poor mental health. It may be articles with tips that help students to improve their state of mind or the number of good counselors.
Colleges may use a stepped-care model. Following an evaluation, students who are most in need receive the most intensive care. Given the wide range of issues students face today, this approach makes sense. Not every student needs individual therapy. Those who are struggling with academic demands may benefit more from workshops. These workshops could cover issues like time management, goal-setting, and sleep hygiene.
Some students may be interested in study and health. They may decide to pursue a psychology degree so they can counsel others. As clinical psychologists, they could help students with problems so they can improve their academic performance.
Good mental health and academic achievement can positively reinforce one another. Overall well-being and resilience have a positive impact on academic performance. It increases motivation and the ability to deal with challenges. Students need to feel well-supported and successful. This improves their emotional well-being and self-esteem. When their overall well-being is taken care of, their academic performance improves.
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