(DegreeAuthorities.com) – It’s no secret that mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety are common in college students. Isolation, financial stressors, busy schedules and social pressures can all be contributing factors to this issue.
In fact, a study from the National College Health Assessment in 2018 indicated more than 18% of college students reported that depression impacted their academic performance. Meanwhile, more than 26% of students said anxiety delivered a similar result.
Unsurprisingly, the additional weight of the COVID-19 crisis has had a major effect on college mental health. So how are students doing, really?
COVID-19 Loneliness and Greater Workloads
Thanks to social distancing and the transition of many schools to online learning this year, some students are more isolated than ever. The social aspect of college has been disrupted, and students are giving up normal, brick and mortar classes to sit at home and look at a computer all day. They may be separated from friends, family members or other support systems that might otherwise help them cope.
As if this wasn’t troubling enough, some students who’d originally signed up to receive a full college experience are finding themselves with heavier workloads and longer days due to the new lack of in-person instruction. Students everywhere are facing an uncertain future, and it’s taking its toll. One study showed that as many as 71% of students have been facing an increase in stress and anxiety due to COVID-19.
Back in April, near the beginning of the pandemic, statistics indicated that about 9 in 10 Americans were experiencing increased financial strain because of the shutdown. Thanks to the major economic downturn that has been put into motion this year, many families are operating with reduced income and greater unpredictability.
Finances are already stressful enough for students who pay thousands of dollars every year to attend the school of their choice. Add economic uncertainty to the mix, and it becomes a perfect combination for extra stress and mental health crises.
College Support Options
Despite the additional challenges that have arisen in 2020, colleges are still doing their best to make mental health resources available to students. Social distancing has complicated in-person meetings between students and faculty at schools, but many institutions are finding ways to make it work.
For example, virtual counseling and support groups make it possible for students to reach out for help when they need it. While this does place limits on school mental health resources, remote counseling is nothing new. Therapy services like BetterHelp and Talkspace were already available before the pandemic, making it possible for sufferers who didn’t feel comfortable talking in person to get the help they needed.
It’s safe to say remote mental health resources aren’t going anywhere. But as colleges struggle to make this transition out of necessity, they may be limited in their ability to reach students who feel hesitant about asking for help.
Students and families everywhere are currently facing an unclear future, and it might not seem like the best time to think about your long-term career. But by taking advantage of your resources and finding ways to cope with the current climate, you can weather this storm and come out stronger.
~Here’s to Your Success!
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