A growing number of colleges and universities have reported an increase in the number of seriously disturbed students who are seeking mental health services. A number of explanations have been suggested for the reason behind this increase, particularly financial pressure and the toll it takes on students. However, there is no consensus on the reasons that mental illness seems to be increasing among today’s students. However, a while back, British researchers attempted to discover how depression and anxiety contribute to student life-stress and their overall academic achievement. It should be no surprise that they discovered that higher levels of depression and anxiety contributed to decreased levels of student achievement.
In the article “The Relation of Depression and Anxiety to Life-Stress and Achievement in Students,” Bernice Andrews and John M. Wilding researched 351 students residing in Britain at the start of their college careers and midway through their studies to measure how their depression and anxiety levels changed over time. They discovered that halfway through, 9% of students had become depressed when they were not before, and 20% had become anxious at clinically significant levels. The researchers concluded that depression was closely correlated with financial difficulties, while anxiety was more closely associated with relationship difficulties. Students who were depressed were more likely to experience difficulties with their exams in their second year.
Assessment of Depression and Anxiety for Better Educational Advancement
While the authors noted that university life seems to have a negative effect on students, particularly due to financial difficulties, they also found that paradoxically, students who came to university with pre existing depressive or anxiety conditions tended to get better while at school. They suggested that educators and administrators take this into consideration while making educational and health policies. These policies haven’t yet become part of the regulations which are used by health providers in colleges and universities. Though, the assessment of the psychological state of a student is critically important. Psychological state influences both cognitive abilities and emotional intellect, both of which have an impact on educational advancement.
This research is now a few years old, but the findings still hold true today. Students who are under stress tend to experience more mental health problems and consequently to experience more issues with their schoolwork. This goes on as a vicious circle — students get more stressed because they cannot deal with schoolwork at the required level, stress influences their cognitive abilities and emotional intellect. Due to this worsened psychological state they both experience difficulties in studying something new and using the acquired knowledge for completing college or university assignments. It makes the next stress and anxiety bump even worse. So, what is to be done about it? There are a number of potential solutions that students may want to try in order to forestall the grade slide that too much stress can cause.
Valid Solutions for A Stress—Anxiety—Problems at School Vicious Circle
First, students should try to limit and control their stress, and develop coping strategies for stress that can’t be controlled. Reducing stress can make it less likely that a student will develop anxiety or depression. Some strategies for reducing stress can include lightening one’s course load, developing a support network, planning ahead to reduce surprise stressors, and attending a university within your price range to reduce the amount of financial stress a student may experience from student loans.
Obviously, stress can’t be eliminated entirely. But there are ways to control stress when it happens. Having effective coping strategies can help you to achieve a better stress response. For example, try to avoid using alcohol or other substances as a stress reliever. Not only is this not effective, it can actually increase your overall stress because of the risk of dependency or addiction as well as the problems that alcohol abuse can cause to relationships. Instead, develop effective ways to channel your stress. Exercise can sometimes help, assuring that you get sufficient sleep to stay rested. Having a strong network of friends you can talk to about problems helps, as does having a hobby that you can turn to in order to refresh yourself. Such healthy distractions are strongly beneficial, and students should not neglect them. At the same time, health advisors and students themselves should make sure hobbies don’t turn into addictions, which distract from schoolwork, instead of helping with it.
Another way to limit stress is to reduce your burden during school. For example, many students find that writing essays causes significant stress. The number of essay students are asked to write keeps growing while the length of the academic term has not expanded to compensate. Rather than devote all of their time to writing essays, many students pay someone to write essays in order to use more time for self-care.
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