Movies often show college as a fun time made of endless partying, some relationship drama and a bit of studying. In reality, being a student is quite stressful, especially during the exam season when only a point can determine whether one passes their test. Spending hours in the library, looking for references, writing papers and attending lectures are all time-consuming, and if one needs to work in order to make ends meet, things can get pretty rough. So, it’s no wonder that many students, especially millennials, are plagued by depression and anxiety, and in order to feel better, they often turn to self-medication, which can have disastrous consequences. If you’re a student or someone close to you is, here are some ways that can make them deal with their issues and feel better:
1. Communication is the key
Talking to someone can literally save a life, so before any other measures, it’s important to have a serious conversation or even a few. Sometimes, a student can be overwhelmed with too much coursework, while in other cases, they can actually suffer from serious mental health problems. Therefore, the first line of treatment should always be a meaningful conversation where a student can share their concerns without being judged. Sometimes, a student might be evasive or embarrassed, so it’s important to be patient and understanding.
2. Time management can be helpful
Being in college is a life-changing experience, and if one comes from a sheltered background, that change can be too much. Meeting new people, navigating the campus, going to classes can be stressful for some. Additionally, studying and turning in essays and other projects are also difficult, so learning the skill of time-management can greatly benefit all students, not only those who are prone to worrying. Sometimes, all it takes is keeping a to-do list, but using time-management apps can also be of use for those who get easily distracted or need some extra motivation.
3. Therapy is always an option
If nothing else works, there’s always a possibility of going to therapy. Nowadays, most university campuses offer free therapy sessions for their students, which is great, considering that many of them will need counseling at least once during their college period.
And if a student comes from abroad, they’re met with extra baggage that often needs to addressed and taken care of. Studying in a foreign country can be extremely daunting and fun in equal parts, so if one needs to see a mental health professional, they should do so. And even if there’s no therapy option on campus, a student should always be able to get it through 485 visa health insurance, since mental health is one of the most important things in life. Being in a new place, studying in a foreign language without the support of a family are all exhausting experiences that require a lot of strength, skills, and motivation, so being able to talk to someone can truly make things better for international students.
Also, non-foreign students can equally benefit from therapy, so it’s crucial to constantly raise awareness regarding mental health issues.
4. Alternative treatments are also beneficial
Dealing with stress can come in many forms, and considering that students tend to be vulnerable and inexperienced, it’s not uncommon for them to self-medicate with drinking, using drugs, and overeating. So, showing them alternative ways of treatment can be helpful: meditation, doing yoga, exercise and other hobbies are all excellent ways one can improve their self-esteem, while also taking their mind off things that are too worrisome. Finding at least 10 minutes a day to do something productive can help students deal with anxiety in a productive manner that won’t harm their well-being. In fact, eating well and being physically active will surely ease their anxiety symptoms.
5. Emphasize the importance of positive habits
A hectic lifestyle is normal when one is a student, but even in the busiest periods, it’s important to have some healthy and positive habits that can increase productivity and feeling of self-worth. Hence, keeping a dorm room clean, eating breakfast every day, waking up and going to bed on time and doing the coursework are all great habits that should be part of one’s regular routine. A lot of students tend to procrastinate, which is mainly due to their inability to deal with unpleasant obligations, and it shouldn’t be judged as much. Instead, students should be taught the importance of time-management and productivity, so they won’t feel troubled and anxious during the exam period.
Worrying is normal in some circumstances, but some people suffer from a serious inability to deal with pressure, and they’re more expected to worry. Additionally, anxiety is a serious mental health problem, and it needs to be dealt with before it gets too bad. Having empathy and being kind are the best ways to help students who are anxious, but also sending them to therapy, showing them extra ways to be productive and fulfilled can also be helpful when dealing with anxiety.