Mental Health: Ensuring Mental Stability As A Student

By: Samuel Olowolayemo

In our everyday life, we are faced with range of stressors that undermine our mental health and can result in varying illnesses. As UIITES, we have enormous workload to deal with per semester and efforts put into addressing them are undermined by varying individual challenges that affect our cognition, emotion and stability in facing our daily tasks.

So, an average student is concerned with how to deal with the stressors and to on a daily, find balance as the dynamics changes. While we cannot wholly determine our socio-economical, physical, and even genetic cause of mental health challenges, there are certain precautions and interventions we can imbibe to ensure our mental health is protected for optimal productivity that our competitive world requires.

Mental health disorders makes up about 15% of all recognized diseases worldwide and according to the World Health Organization [WHO]. Also, over 450 million people live with a mental disorder. As university students, we are exposed to many of the determinants that affect mental health such as heightened workload, peer pressure, socio-economical factors like state of finances, availability of water and power supply among others.

Also, because the transition from being a high school student to being a university student is very challenging; university students worldwide are at risk for mental health disorders. These mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, addictions, risk for suicide, and other chronic psychiatric disorders are found in varying degree in many students from academic, peer pressure and financial stresses.

In many instances, there are self-inflicting attitudes of students that contribute to mental instability. Many students, for several reasons, neglect proper rest, which in turn can negatively influence their mental health status and psychological well-being. This impedes your cognitive ability to make proper sensible decisions and also reduces productivity a lot which in turn tell on academics and social life. Ensuring adequate sleep and rest is critical to leading a fulfilled life which depend largely on your mental acuity and stability.

In UI, semesters resume with lectures and assignments, but in reality, many never really “resume” in tandem with the calendar such that towards tests and exams, they become tensed and upset trying to cover compounded materials. For sleep deprivation, the abuse of energy drinks is employed which increases heart rates and could cause damage to mental and even physical health.

We are in a society where the urgency to ‘belong’ to certain class of people, the need to live up to a defined societal social norm, peer pressure cause anxieties in adolescent and young adults who might then indulge in all sort of vices like gambling, use of hard substance among others. They become addicted to these despite the obvious damage it causes them. Although addiction among students are commonly associated with gambling, drugs and alcohol, addictions can arise from other things, including school work – as a student it can be easy to become obsessed with school work to the point of physical exhaustion

Managing mental health challenges as a university student requires a holistic approach encompassing social support and effective coping strategies which largely rely on the learing environment and conditions, also on utilities and services put in place by school management that addresses students’ mental health. First and foremost, seeking support is paramount. Whether it’s confiding in trusted friends, leaning on family members, or utilizing the university counseling services, reaching out for assistance can alleviate feelings of isolation and provide valuable perspectives. Additionally, prioritizing self-care is crucial. Establishing healthy habits such as regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and sufficient sleep lays a foundation for mental well-being. Engaging in hobbies, and practicing relaxation techniques like mindfulness or deep breathing can also mitigate stress and promote resilience.

Effective time management is a very important aspect of managing mental health as a university student and it involves breaking down tasks into manageable chunks, prioritizing responsibilities, and setting realistic goals  which help prevent feelings of overwhelm and boost productivity. Identifying healthy outlets such as journaling, creative expression, or seeking professional therapy equips students with tools to manage stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns.

To wade off anxiety from loneliness, explore fostering social connections and maintaining a supportive network. You can join organizations of interest where you feel comfortable and can express yourself and utilize your potentials.

Finally, it’s essential to recognize the importance of knowing when to take a break and seeking professional help when necessary. Listening to one’s own needs and recognizing personal limits is vital in preventing burnout and maintaining well-being. Whether it’s taking a day off to recharge or seeking therapy to address more complex mental health issues, prioritizing self-care is not a sign of weakness but of strength and self-awareness. By incorporating these strategies, you can proactively manage your mental health, thrive academically, and lay the groundwork for long-term well-being.

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