The fast-paced life that students live, presents itself with challenges that exceed beyond the lecture halls. The scales of mental well-being may be tipped when balancing lectures, studying, assignments, social life, and living a healthy lifestyle, among others. This article aims to shed light on the complexity of student mental health, exploring and elaborating on students' issues, work demands, and physical needs and additionally, discussing the alarming rate of suicide rates in men, talking about unique challenges that they may find themselves presented with.
Balancing It All: Mental health coupled with academic pressure
The pursuit of doing well academically can be overwhelming at times, leading to increased stress, anxiety, and burnout. Acknowledging the importance of mental health and well-being is of paramount importance for a student to navigate such an environment accordingly. The importance of establishing realistic goals for oneself and having a supportive community of family or friends are crucial elements to keep all this in symmetry. Recognizing the importance of the relationship between the two can help build a foundation for having a more resilient mindset. Through the prioritization of self-care, seeking help if needed, and forming a positive approach to challenges that lie ahead, any student can not only reach their academic expectations but also improve emotionally and mentally. The approach to such things is a determining factor in the outcome.
The Need For Income
At university, you will meet students from all walks of life. Multiple students find themselves in a position where working is not just an option but a necessity, which can make academic challenges even harder than they already are. It can be extremely demanding and tiring if this is a constant in their life. Balancing work demands and stress alongside academic responsibilities requires resilience and develops a unique set of skills. These students often face the pressure of juggling tight schedules, deadlines for both work and school, and financial stress which accompanies the need to earn to make a living. Striking a balance between it all becomes extremely important and it is crucial to communicate these problems with their professors and employers to seek an understanding and aid their accommodations. While the road of working and studying presents plenty of challenges, it will instil several valuable and crucial life skills in students such as time management, perseverance, and adaptability to life’s unexpected challenges, giving them the edge to face them better than many. Despite the formidable and uneasy way of having to go through university, these students show commendable dedication to their financial situation and education, embodying the factor of resilience in the face of adversity.
The Importance Hobbies or Activities
Discovering an engaging hobby or activity outside university responsibilities is not just a luxury but an essential element of maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Having a hobby can offer numerous benefits that contribute positively to mental health and overall well-being. Firstly, the most important benefit it offers is that such an activity provides stress relief, allowing individuals to unwind, anxiety levels to drop and their minds to recharge. It also provides a break from the routine demands of academia.
Moreover, what’s important is that hobbies tap into different skill sets and creative outlets, promoting a sense of critical thinking, personal growth, and accomplishment. Whether it is sports, music, art, or dancing, these attributes will contribute to the individual, making them more resilient round. Participation offers people a chance to build more social connections, meet like-minded individuals and build a sense of community with others.
Importantly, engaging in such like the above encourages and develops time management skills as they learn to allocate time better across their daily lives. Even the importance of exercise can never be undermined, as a strong body is a strong mind and can transform one’s life for the better. This balance is vital for preventing burnout and enhancing overall productivity, as finding an activity outside one’s academic obligations is a strategic investment in one’s mental and emotional well-being, adding more fulfilment to one’s life.
Men’s Mental Health
Why we should break the silence on rising suicide rates.
There is also an alarming rise in suicide rates among men. During the year 2022 in Malta, the suicides involving men was up to 80% (Times of Malta, 2022). This underscores the urgent need to break the silence surrounding men’s mental health, not just during select months, but year-round. Social expectations can discourage men from openly expressing emotions or seeking help if needed, contributing to a culture of silence and isolation, with many men living in desperation. Since, the reluctance to share their struggles can result in a hidden epidemic of untreated mental health issues, resulting in numerous bad outcomes. Through fostering a culture where it allows men to speak up, and share their feelings without judgement, we can begin to challenge harmful stereotypes that hinder men from seeking help.
Mental health needs to be prioritised throughout schools and healthcare systems, teaching everyone how to deal with their emotions correctly, not suppress or fail to handle them - teaching people that seeking help is a sign of strength not weakness would further encourage individuals to speak out.
In conclusion, mental health among students is not a topic which should be taken lightly. It is important for students to have activities to switch off, to be able to talk to their friends and family openly, seek help if needed and to control their emotions. Breaking the silence, not just on men’s mental health, however, of all, is of utmost importance as no one should feel alone.
UM, and recently, KSU offer free therapy services to students, which offer a service to those who may not afford private therapy and can in itself encourage students to speak up. While these initiatives represent significant progress in aiding students' mental well-being, we strongly encourage all educational and other institutions to prioritise actions that prevent mental health issues, such as evaluating student workloads, rather than solely focusing on remediation.
The most important thing to take from this paper is to seek help if needed. You are not alone, and it is a sign of strength by doing so.
(2023) Suicide is an overwhelmingly male issue. why does this crisis go unnoticed?, Times of Malta. Available at: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/suicide-overwhelmingly-male-issue-why-crisis-go-unnoticed.1044700 (Accessed: 18 December 2023).