Going back to school is an exciting time. Getting to see and reconnect with friends, decorating a dorm or apartment, and taking new classes are highlights of the college experience. Yet, starting classes again is not always a sunny event for students. Stress in university students has given rise to a new mental health crisis in adults aged 18-23.
According to the American Psychological Association, 87% of college students surveyed claimed that education was their largest stress contributor. In fact, only 1.6% of undergraduate students had said that they felt no stress related to academics in the past year (NCHA).
Stress in students often occurs in tandem with other mental health issues. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that 34% of students report feelings of depression, while the National College Health Assessment’s studies show that 6 out of 10 students claim to experience anxiety during the academic year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased stress levels for students. Pre-pandemic, 24% percent of students admitted to feeling worried about their future after graduating (NCHA). Currently, however, the APA reports that 67% of undergraduates surveyed claim that they view getting established after graduation “impossible” as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
So, how do college students assuage these overwhelming feelings? A great place to start is improving their sleep. The American Institute of Stress reports that not getting enough rest is a major player in increasing stress levels. In fact, 40% of students claim to not get “adequate sleep” during the week (NCHA).
Other methods of alleviating stress include recognizing when symptoms of stress are setting in, allocating time for social interaction, and making smart food choices.
Simply put, take care of yourselves.