Improving students’ mental health during COVID-1

Student Mental Health
Student Mental Health

Written by Thobile Mthethwa

Have you ever felt like you are hopeless, worthless and as if everything around you is weighing you down? These are some of the everyday stressors or rather emotions that most researchers or university students’ experience. With the rise of COVID-19, this has meant the everyday stressors get worse day by the day. Students are left feeling overwhelmed, lost and some even break down in distress.

Over the past months, mental health has become an important matter in students' lives. Most students are faced with the difficulty of having to adjust to a new learning strategy which is online learning. Online learning, although helpful to many students, is presented with many challenges as there are still quite a few number of students who are unable to keep up with the daily tasks of having to learn online. As a result, some university students have even opted to drop out as they are struggling to keep up with online learning. This has led to emotional and psychological distress which in turn leaves many students needing psychological help. Therefore, there has been an increasing demand in the number of students who require therapy to help them cope with academic demands.

The are several other factors apart from academic demands that contribute to student distress. These include harassment, assault, political instability, student debt and future careers, family problems, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

COVID-19 has caused a decline in in-person counselling services. As such online counselling has been made available to students. Online therapy is made available to students to help them deal with distress, but the question remains whether this service can reach a majority of students going through mental distress. In times, such as these, the mental health of students is crucial and should be a regular occurring discussion to help students with making ends meet.

The following can be done to maintain a positive mindset.
  1. Engaging in physical exercise (such as doing yoga, dancing, etc.).
  2. Getting enough sleep is also important for one's mental health.
  3. Engaging in social activity, for example, joining online book clubs, learning a second language online.
  4. Maintaining a healthy diet
  5. Having a routine or daily schedule. Schedules provide reassurance and stability to those with anxiety or depression.
  6. Having a good support system (such as family, close friends, and parents).
  7. Seeking professional help

It is important that students strike a balance between, their mental, physical, social, and spiritual wellness. This will help them cope better with everyday problems or challenges.

Remember to be kind to Yourself and Stay positive!!!