Mental health wellness is very important to university students. Unfortunately, most university students do not know how to approach mental health issues such as stress, depression and anxiety. Most turn to drugs and other distractions that are not healthy. Such an approach can only offer momentary relief to their problems then, later on, worsen the problem leading to severe cases such as cases of suicide.
University students are subjected to a lot of stress generating factors on daily basis. They can be academic, social or economic. Therefore, it is highly advisable that they understand their mental health status and embrace positive solutions towards countering daily life challenges that can compromise their mental wellbeing.
Students are faced with a myriad of life problems among them being financial challenges. A good number of students are not from well-off families, especially in government-sponsored institutions. They struggle to pay for their tuition fees and spare some for their daily upkeep. This pushes them to do side-hustles which apply a considerable amount of pressure on them since they work late into the night and get paid peanuts. These jobs are sometimes dangerous to the students’ safety as some work in bars and nightclubs as waiters and bouncers. To balance all these responsibilities with academics can send students spiralling into the abyss of stress and depression.
Pressure from dictatorial parents who force students to take courses that they are not interested in can also result in overwhelming psychological stress. Some of the parents even go as far as threatening to withdraw their financial support from the rebellious student.
Peer pressure and the need to be accepted in various social circles among student is also another source of mental or psychological stress and depression. They may end up engaging in drugs, dating the wrong type of people and practising irresponsible sexual behaviour. All these challenges are not easy to cope up with hence the need for serious mental health care.
There are many ways in which students can pay attention to their mental health which encompasses not only psychological but also emotional and social-wellbeing. Mental health problems come with warning signs just like any other health problem, students should watch out for signs such as overreacting, oversleeping, feeling of low energy, loss in hope, drug abuse, easy irritability, contemplating self-harm, mood swings, just to mention a few.
Students can secure a healthy mental state by seeking professional advice or help in case they are faced with a difficult situation of any kind. A problem shared is half solved so the saying goes. Many people tend to rush and jump to conclusions that only make the problem even worse.
Developing a connection with others can also promote good mental health. Attending social functions and spending time with friends can provide an avenue for problem-solving and sharing of wise ideas amongst the students. Therefore, it is important for a student to be sociable and have friends who can be relied upon during trying moments.
Engaging in sports and other physical activity can also boost one’s health mentally. Idleness and lack of exercise can lead to conditions such as obesity which is a catalyst for depression and other psychological issues. An idle mind is the devil's workshop, so they say. An idle person is also susceptible to alcohol and drug abuse which can lead to serious mental problems or worse, insanity. Sports and physical exercises such as attending gym classes also promote physical well-being and long life.
One can also offer help to others and do some voluntary work where possible. This does not only keeps students busy and occupied but also boosts their confidence and self-satisfaction. Serving others can be a great source of hope; especially when one sees his or her labour paying off to the betterment of other people's lives.
Sleeping and getting enough rest is also very important for students. No matter the workload or responsibilities surrounding them, sleep and rest are very necessary and completely unavoidable. This helps the brain to relax and refresh itself ready to face a new day or a new task that lie ahead. Just like computers, the human brain needs to ‘cool off’ after performing heavy tasks to avoid burnouts which can cause stress and subsequent depression.
It is also essential for a student to have great adaptability in order to perfect on his or her coping skills. Over time, a person is subjected to challenges in life which might recur, therefore being able to learn from previous problems or mistakes is very important as it equips the individual with life skills which enable resilience and sharpen the already available coping skills.
Students can combat stress and depression by eating foods that nourish the brain. These foods prevent the inflammation of the brain hence averting the depression. Such foods include dark green vegetables such as kales and spinach, they also have the ability to fight imminent cancer. Another group of foods include walnuts which contain omega 3 known as an effective mood-booster, avocado which is rich in oleic acid which promotes smooth brain activity, berries that contain antioxidants and mushrooms which can greatly lower blood sugar levels. Others include onions, beans, tomatoes, seeds such as hemp seeds and apples.