The link between higher education and mental health strain


Mental health strain among higher education students the world over has never been as astronomically high as it is currently. This is especially true in higher education systems. In fact, the statistics are so shockingly high, so intense, that they have passed the point of being an ongoing issue. Mental health strain in the global education industry is now decidedly an epidemic. It might come as a surprise to some, but realistically the statistic has been a long time coming, in the making, and ongoing. Higher education has evolved over time, sure, but the demands placed on the shoulders of students has not. Students these days especially are expected to successfully complete more assessments, in shorter time frames. It is not at all uncommon for a higher education student to have a week where four or five (sometimes even more) assessments are due within the same five days spent on campus. This is troubling because modern students are busier than ever as well.

Students at colleges and universities around the world cope with ever-demanding academic schedules, all the while balancing them with other aspects of modern life, such as earning a stable income, maintaining relationships with family and friends, and finding the time for personal hobbies that we thrive on. It is important for students to ultimately establish and maintain a balance that speaks of a healthy lifestyle – both on campus and off it. No student can and/or should be expected to perform at their peak academically if they do not have a healthy mindset to do so. Our mental health is just as important to whole health as physical health, and it is time that we treated it as such – especially when it comes to the mental health of students on campus. Already, too many lives are lost annually as the result of mental health strains on higher education campuses, and even more suffer physically, emotionally, and mentally because of it as well – and mostly by their own hands.

Students must be made abundantly aware that there are various assistance programs and services on campus, including school therapists and student support groups. Sometimes, all it takes to right the ship is having the awareness that there are others also struggling, that you are not alone in your battle. It really can make the world of difference. When we are mentally struggling, it is difficult to maintain an established healthy outlook on life. To help academically, there are professional training platforms and tutoring programs available at most – if not all – higher education institutions. Reaching out for help is only half the battle. The plight for ongoing stable mental health for all is a lovely idea, but the fact of the matter is that students (and anyone, for that matter) that struggles with their mental health faces the reality that they have a war raging inside of themselves. As with any war, these battles take time to comb through, to work themselves out of the system. With this in mind, it is crucial that schools and students alike enlist in and take full advantage of ongoing assistances.

Education in general is quite the immersive experience, but it is even more so for those people who make the decision to expand their studies and take on a higher education qualification as well. The essence of learning is that it challenges us to be better, to reach new academic and intellectual heights. Of course, it is a challenge. Unfortunately for some, the challenges of higher education can explode into chaotic stresses that overwhelm them and put their mental health at risk. The statistics over the years have ballooned every time a new study has been carried out, with mounting concerns rising all the while. As for what the solution is, there is much work to be done to ultimately figure out a viable solution that has the longevity needed to survive generations. For now, we must keep the communication channels honest and open, actively allowing for the stigma surrounding mental health among students to dissipate. Above all, support is what is needed most at the present time.