More Than Half Of Students Surveyed Said They Need Mental Health Services Since Schools Closed
School closures were intended to keep students safe during the pandemic, but for many, its ushered in a different set of dangers: anxiety, depression and other serious mental health conditions.
School counselors, psychologists and social workers have been trying to help students virtually since campuses closed, listening to their struggles and offering advice on how to navigate the complex difficulties theyre facing. But what students need most right now in-person support is impossible to deliver, they said.
Ive been at this a long time, and Im scratching my head at how daunting this is, said Loretta Whitson, executive director of the California Association of School Counselors. In the Great Recession we were dealing with job loss, but now were facing job loss as well as widespread trauma.
Increasing numbers of students say they feel overwhelmed, and not just about the health of their family and friends due to the coronavirus. Their parents might be newly unemployed, they might be falling behind academically, they cant see their friends, or they might be trapped at home in an abusive family situation.
The result is this website, published in conjunction with the Wisconsin School Counselor Association, which includes guidelines for how counselors should handle subjects like grief, anxiety and suicide prevention while campuses are closed.
Now, that number is likely to plummet, she said.
Theres a lot of anxiety about the future, Love said.
Online Therapy Based Groups At Unb Counselling Services
Road to Resilience: This group will be open to students experiencing a range of common difficulties such as anxiety, depression, stress and interpersonal challenges. The group will operate from a strength-based lens with a focus on belonging and resilience.
Beyond Breathing: Mindfulness is defined as a state of open attention to the present moment. So, how might this type of awareness be helpful during periods of anxiety or difficulty? This online group will explore various mindful qualities and practices, specifically geared towards creating more calm during times of stress and uncertainty.
The Student Health Centre, located in C. C. Jones Student Services Centre, hosts a team of qualified Physicians, Nurses, a Nurse Practitioner, a Dietician, a Psychiatrist, and an Orthopedic Surgeon who help support the well-being of UNB and STU Students experiencing various health concerns, including challenges related to mental health. This can include an assessment, ordering bloodwork or more extensive testing, writing prescriptions, referrals to specialists such as a Psychiatrist, and other relevant services.
But Heres What We Know Can Help
We recently conducted a review of studies designed to promote mental health and stress resilience among university students. We found:
focusing attention on the present moment was the most reliable exercise for reducing symptoms of anxiety
engaging in enjoyable and personally meaningful activities was the most effective exercise for reducing symptoms of depression
positive relations with others decreased symptoms of anxiety and paranoia, and improved positive emotions
humour relieved symptoms of anxiety
keeping a journal relieved symptoms of anxiety. Doing this may also improve positive emotions
acceptance during difficult circumstances also relieved symptoms of anxiety, but not as effectively as focusing attention on the present moment, humour, journaling or positive relationships
gratitude, optimism, self-compassion, being aware of emotions and taking probiotics all helped to improve mental health, but not as effectively as the other exercises outlined above
exercise relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety and can also improve positive emotions if the participant does not push too far beyond their ability level.
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Anxiety And Depression Among Health Sciences Students In Home Quarantine During The Covid
- 1School of Health and Allied Sciences, Pokhara University, Pokhara, Nepal
- 2Health Research Together Initiative-Nepal , Kathmandu, Nepal
- 3Monitoring and Evaluation Officer , Aasaman Nepal, Janakpurdham, Nepal
- 4Department of Public Health, Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal
- 5School of Public Health, Patan Academy of Health Sciences, Lalitpur, Nepal
- 6Faculty of Social Sciences, Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway
- 7Faculty of Health Science and Technology, Nepal Open University, Lalitpur, Nepal
- 8Department of Public Health, Shree Medical and Technical College, Chitwan, Nepal
Aim: This study aimed to assess anxiety and depression among health sciences students at home quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic in selected provinces of Nepal.
Methods: A web-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 409 health science students enrolled at graduate and post-graduate levels in selected universities and their affiliated colleges. Students from selected colleges were asked to fill out a survey, that was made available through email and social media outlets such as Facebook and Viber. The data were downloaded in Excel and imported to SPSS version 16 for analysis.
Missing Class Can Be A Sign Of Anxiety
These disorders can also lead to school refusal, or school phobia. This is when a students anxiety or depression is so severe that they begin avoiding going to school at all. This can begin with missing class, going home early and staying home, but eventually can lead to school drop out. The Centre for Emotional Health at Macquarie University states that 49% of adults with anxiety reported leaving school early and 24% claimed that anxiety was the primary reason for them leaving.
The negative impact anxiety and depression have on students academic performance doesnt just hurt them and their families, but it has consequences for the economy and society as a whole because they are not receiving a proper education.
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Impact Of Anxiety And Depression On Performance
Depression and anxiety affect all areas of an individuals well-being including sleep, diet, mental and physical health, self esteem, social interaction and academic performance.
Students who have these disorders are at risk of suffering from poor academic performance and resistance to anything school-related. This can include lack of engagement in the classroom, poor relationships with peers and teachers, and disinterest in pursuing passions and planning for the future. Their learning is also affected due to the fact that anxiety and depression can impact the working memory, which makes it challenging to retain new information and recall previously learned information.
Anxiety and depression negatively influence academic progress and encourage under-achievement. Students with a high level of anxiety score lower on IQ and achievement tests than their peers.
Routine Screening And Diagnosis
Periodically screen children and youth for early signs of depression and/or anxiety. Record these results in the patients problem list.
Ask questions of the child when there are red flags including: unexplained somatic complaints unexplained behavioural changes teenage pregnancy school absences and family members with depression, anxiety, alcohol or other substance abuse.
Suggested questionsDo you find yourself sad, irritable or worried a lot?Is the child withdrawing from or avoiding their usual activities?
Family involvement is invaluable for assisting with and monitoring treatments as well as providing assurance and emotional support for the child or youth. Assure the family that the questions and fact-finding is not to assign blame but to better understand the situation.
Choose an appropriate diagnostic questionnaire available for download on the internet. If the screen indicates a possible problem then either begin or schedule time to begin a detailed inquiry about anxiety or depressive symptoms, evaluate severity, and the potential for self-harm. Consider that there may be more than one psychiatric disorder when screening because anxiety and depressive disorders are highly comorbid in children and adolescents. Refer to Appendix A Diagnosis of Anxiety Disorders in Children and Youth for descriptions of these disorders.
All youth with mood or anxiety disorders should be screened for alcohol or drug use.
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Preventive Measures To Be Taken By Educational Institutions
- Workshops and seminars should be conducted, to identify the students having psychological problems of stress and depression.
- Institutions should mandatorily have counselling centres to keep a track of thought process of the students.
- A survey or poll to be conducted to get a scalable insight of the psychological problems among the students.
- Once the students with such psychological problems are found, respective ways of psychotherapy should be implemented on them.
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Study Settings And Participants
This was a nationwide survey conducted among Chinese college students between December 27, 2020 and March 12, 2021, which was considered the late stage of the COVID-19 outbreak in China. To avoid the risk of face-to face transmission, online questionnaires were distributed using snowball sampling. The details of survey procedures have been introduced elsewhere . To be eligible, participants need to be undergraduate students aged between 16 and 30 years, Chinese ethnicity, and able to understand the purpose and content of this survey. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Beijing Anding Hospital. All participants have provided electronic written informed consent guardians provided informed consent if students were younger than 18 years.
Are Mental Health Problems Increasing Among Students
Mental health is a growing concern on college campuses across the United States. According to a 2018 study, more than 95% of directors at college counseling centers report that managing students mental health is a growing concern.
This study also revealed that mental health problems have increased significantly among college students in recent decades. The number of students entering college with a mental health disorder has increased as well.
While its not entirely clear whats causing this trend, a 2018 study suggests that adolescents who spent more time on electronic devices and less time engaging in activities without electronics had decreased psychological well-being.
Symptoms of anxiety vary among individuals, but may include the following symptoms:
- poor concentration
- lack of adequate treatment options
- financial struggles
Besides reaching out to a mental health professional, there are several things students can do to help cope with symptoms of anxiety and depression:
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Factors Associated With Depression
Many factors might increase students susceptibility to depression. These factors include changes in lifestyle, financial stressors, family relationship changes, and academic worries with post-graduation life.3 Other possible risk factors that significantly increase the crude odds ratio of having major depressive disorder include female gender, younger age, lower-class years, living alone in a rented room, and financial difficulty.18 Furthermore, a study highlighted some specific factors for each academic level. Notably, 1st year students reported volume of work and absence of feedback as major stressors, while 3rd year students were stressed by fears about future capability and pedagogical inadequacies. Sixth year students, on the other hand, expressed worries about non-supportive climate in addition to the stressors reported by the 1st and 3rd year students.12 Other social factors were associated with a high rate of depression such as family economic status. Higher rates of depression were reported among university students from low-income families than those from high socioeconomic families. Moreover, those who lived in rural areas were likely to have a greater risk for depression than those living in urban areas.19 Students with substance abuse, students having a family history of depression and anxiety, and those who had lost a close relative in the past year were more likely to be depressed and anxious.20
Symptoms Of Substance Misuse
Many students who use alcohol and drugs in college do not develop an addiction. However, they can still feel the side effects of withdrawal or prolonged use of these substances.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of substance misuse:
- Slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, or impaired coordination
- Fear, anxiety, or paranoia for no apparent reason
- Prone to suspicious behaviors
- A sudden need for money or a financial crisis
- High tolerance for alcohol and/or drug use
- Deterioration of physical appearance, such as weight loss or gain, and changes in personal grooming habits
- A sudden change in friends, activities, or hobbies
If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, you may be at risk of developing a substance use disorder. Genetics can contribute to your likelihood of developing an addiction, especially if your family has a history of alcohol or drug misuse.
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Signs Of Suicidal Ideation In Yourself
Suicidal thoughts often stem from a preexisting mental health condition. Depression, which can cause distorted thinking, sometimes leads to suicidal thoughts. Feeling utterly overwhelmed and helpless due to anxiety can also result in suicidal thoughts.
If you’re thinking about ending your life, tell a friend or loved one. You should also contact your mental health center as soon as possible.
Remember that crisis services are available. Don’t hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-8255 if you’re experiencing peristent thoughts of suicide.
Suicide is a preventable tragedy. There are people out there who care and want to help you.
Performance And Exam Anxiety
A little adrenaline helps performance, but over-worrying is a very good way to reduce efficiency and effectiveness, as well as exhausting ourselves. Depressed thinking habits and raised stress levels can get in the way of you doing your best in your studies. Getting your time management and concentration sorted is a good starting point. Use the study skills support and resources offered by your academic or student services department.
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Leaving Things To The Last Minute
Procrastination is another very common student issue, which can be closely linked with any or all of the other issues discussed on this page. It is also a very common part of the depression habit spiral the more things get put off, the more overwhelming they seem. Procrastination is particularly linked to the depressed thinking habits of perfectionism, self-bullying and all-or-nothing thinking.
There are a number of things we can do to support ourselves in getting things done. Have a look at the Making Changes information on this site for some ideas.
The Relationship Between Depression And Anxiety Is Complicated
While it would be great if there were a fool-proof way of telling you whether you have anxiety or depression, its not quite that simple. One person can easily have both anxiety and depression, and some people may have developed depression symptoms as a result of their anxiety disorder.
Its a bit more difficult than saying you have anxiety or you have depression because its possible to have combinations of both. This may be called a comorbid condition when you suffer from both conditions simultaneously. Symptoms of one or the other may bleed into whichever disorder you have, because both share similar causes, issues, etc.
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Unpredictable Behavior Is Often A Sign Of Anxiety Or Depression
Anxiety and depression can be tricky because they can cause students to act in unpredictable ways and teachers arent trained to recognize these cues. For example, Mr. Lee shares a story about his student, Mark, who is typically in a great mood.
Mr. Lee recalls one day in specific.
He screamed, I hate this school! as he ran out of the classroom.
Mr. Lee was shocked and had no idea what had gone wrong.
This is a perfect example showing why it is so important for teachers to receive training that will allow them to identify students with anxiety and depression and to be equipped to handle such situations.
Anxiety and depression are complex disorders and how they affect people depends on many variables. One minute a student could seem fine and the next they may experience and outburst or panic attack. Teachers and staff need training to be able to properly handle these unexpected occurrences.
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If Youre Considering Self
You can access free support right away with these resources:
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call the Lifeline at 800-273-8255 for English or 888-628-9454 for Spanish, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- The Crisis Text Line. Text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
- The Trevor Project. LGBTQIA+ and under 25 years old? Call 866-488-7386, text START to 678678, or chat online 24/7.
- Veterans Crisis Line. Call 800-273-8255, text 838255, or chat online 24/7.
- Deaf Crisis Line. Call 321-800-3323, text HAND to 839863, or visit their website.
- Befrienders Worldwide. This international crisis helpline network can help you find a local helpline.
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