Saturday, December 2, 2023

Mental Health Matters: Today, Tomorrow, Always

Nurturing Psychological Wellbeing Among Students

Dr Manoj Kumar Sahoo

Worldwide, World Mental Health Day is observed with the thought to raise awareness about mental health issues and influencing everyone towards a positive change in their mental health. In the recent years, the rising number of suicides amongst students is an alarming problem for parents, educational institutions and the community at large. The undue academic pressure and other environmental situations make these students vulnerable to mental health problems. Thus, providing access to mental health facilities for the students is the utmost priority. This year’s theme, “Mental health is a universal human right”, also echoes the same thought about providing the basic facilities to the grassroot levels, like these young students. Psychological wellbeing is a critical aspect of a student’s life that often goes unnoticed in the hustle and bustle of academic pursuits. While grades and extracurricular activities hold their own importance, neglecting psychological wellbeing can have detrimental effects on a student’s overall success and happiness.

Psychological Wellbeing for Students is important for their academic performance, social relationships and coping in life. It is seen academic performance and wellbeing has a connection as it impacts a student’s ability to concentrate, retain information, and perform well in exams. When a student experiences high levels of stress, anxiety, or depression, it hinders with cognitive function, ultimately making it difficult for students to excel academically. Similarly social relationship and psychological wellbeing is linked positively. An emotional stable individual is able to maintain good interpersonal relationships as well as adjust to their surroundings. Lastly, coping with life situations, especially during college life is not limited to only academic pressure, but also includes homesickness and adapting to a new environment. Psychological wellbeing equips students with the resilience to face these challenges effectively.

It is important that we educate students to practice psychological wellbeing. There are a few simple strategies which can help students enhance psychological wellbeing. Students should begin with Self-Care, it is encouraging them to prioritise self-care routines, including adequate sleep, regular exercise and a balanced diet on regular basis. We should motivate students to practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques. It will help them to remain calm in stressful situations and tolerate stress. Another important strategy is time management, teaching the students effective time management skills helps reduce the pressure of deadlines and coursework. Along with it one should learn to set realistic goals which are achievable according to their abilities. Taking up unrealistic academic or career aspirations can lead to stress and burnout. Balancing academics, extracurricular activities and personal time is essential for psychological wellbeing. They should be encouraged to create social connections as this will help them build a support network. Also promoting open communication with friends and roommates to foster a sense of belonging. Nowadays mostly all schools, colleges have counselling services, the students should be encouraged to seek help when needed. This will reduce the stigma attached to it and foster an environment where students feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns with professionals.

Therefore, psychological wellbeing is a cornerstone of a successful and fulfilling student life. By prioritising mental health and implementing the said strategies, students can not only shine academically, but also lead happier and balanced lives.

(Author is Head Consultant & HOD Psychiatry, Tata Main Hospital. The views expressed are personal.)

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