A Deep Dive into Mental Health Problems Faced by Psychology Students

A Deep Dive into Mental Health Problems Faced by Psychology Students

We have all been faced with some form of mental health-related issues in our life. It may be stress from work, trauma experienced in childhood, fear of something new, or even pressure from conflicts in relationships. Each person faces difficulties unique to their experience, especially the context. Have you ever wondered what are mental issues faced by people in the field of psychology? If you are in the field of psychology, how can you tackle such issues?

Mental Health Problems Across University Students

To look more into this, let’s understand the research behind it. At the beginning of 2023, an Ireland study was conducted to analyze the rates of mental health conditions among first-year undergraduate students of different disciplines in North-West Ireland. The study revealed some intriguing statistics.

Among psychology students 17.7% experienced panic attacks, 50.5% suffered from social anxiety, and other psychology students reported a range of mental health conditions including suicidal ideation. Of art students, one-fifth experienced depression in the last 12 months and were likely to display self-harm behaviours and suicide. Law students reported suicidal ideation and alcohol abuse when investigated about their mental health condition. Though 11.1% of psychology students sought help in the past 12 months 21.7% felt they needed to seek help.
In contrast, engineering students reported the lowest levels of mental health issues, but the researchers have stated this may be due to most students being male. The lowest rates of depression and suicidal ideation were found among computer students and nursing students even students pursuing mental health nursing.

The Hidden Burdens

So, what are these mental health challenges such students are facing? College students frequently experience psychological issues like procrastination, perfectionism, low self-esteem, test-related anxiety, and stress.

1) Depression: A depressed episode can involve mood fluctuations, sleep issues, changes in appetite, headaches and/or bodily aches with no obvious physical explanation. In the Healthy Minds Study conducted in 2021, college students with major depression made up 22% of the sample, while general depression made up 41%.

2) Suicidal Ideation: Suicidal ideation is defined as having a tendency to think about or make plans for one’s own demise. National Crime Record Bureau in 2021 reported that over 13 thousand students had attempted suicide due to academic-related issues.

3) Anxiety: Psychology students are at an increased risk for anxiety due to a variety of circumstances. For instance, among these students, sleep disturbance brought on by excessive coffee consumption and all-nighters is linked to elevated anxiety. Additionally, loneliness is a predictor of mental health issues, such as anxiety. Such students’ psychological anguish is also related to academic aspects including school stress and disengagement from their academics.

4) Addictions: Between 3.9% and 69.8% of people reported ever or lifetime alcohol use, while between 10.6% and 32.9% of people reported drinking alcohol at least once in the previous year. The average age at which people start drinking was between 14.4 and 18.3 years old. Additionally, estimates suggest that around 20% to 40% of Indian college students are at risk of developing internet addiction, indicating its prevalence among this population.

Criteria for Detection of Potential Risks

A research article published on 29th June 2023 assessed 1,644 students, classifying 30.1% of them as high-risk students with mental health conditions. Based on the analysis of the data collected the researchers identified three criteria that may help predict mental health problems among undergraduate students, which are:

  1. Lower study engagement
  2. Less than six hours of weekday sleep duration
  3. Fewer than 2.5 meals per day
Causes of Mental Health Problems

Prior studies indicate that disclosing mental health issues, disability, or sickness in a training environment can result in missed career opportunities, including employment, promotion, or recognition. However, studies also suggest that disclosing one’s mental illness may open up additional avenues for receiving help and accommodations at work, including modifications to job duties, work schedules, and performance and time-management expectations. Some of the possible causes of mental health problems among psychology students are listed below:

  • Growing raised in a violent household
  • Loneliness
  • Domestic violence in adults
  • Enduring a chronic disease
  • Chronic stress
  • Peer pressure
  • Stigmatization and prejudice
  • Persistently bad achievements in school
  • Poverty or social disadvantage
  • Misuse and abuse of drugs
  • Physical factors such as an injury
  • Increase the use of social media and the internet
  • Lifestyle elements such as poor diet and insufficient sleep
Ways to Prevent Mental Health Problems

You may keep mental health conditions from overwhelming you on a personal level by:

  • Valuing oneself, being kind and respectful to oneself
  • Scheduling regular time for the things and people you love
  • Taking good care of your body by consuming wholesome foods, drinking enough water, and avoiding medicines
  • Exercising
  • Surrounding yourself with ethical individuals
  • Spending time volunteering for worthy causes
  • Acquiring stress management skills
  • Using awareness, meditation, relaxation, or prayer to calm your mind
  • Setting sensible objectives

Educational settings and society at large can also take action to address the situation affecting college students by:

  • Information provided by campus mental health services
  • Creation of protective and encouraging resources
  • Referrals to outside resources when necessary
  • Periodically updating a crisis response strategy is important.

Several lines of contact to connect with at-risk psychology students. Even the most effective safeguards might not be sufficient. This necessitates having an effective crisis response system. To help students feel secure and supported, it ought to put a strong emphasis on mental health.

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