Mental health has become a buzzword across college campuses due to the influx of anxiety, sleep depravity, and depression leading hundreds of students to drop out of school or even commit suicide. According to experts, mental health problems affect a student’s energy level, concentration, dependability, mental ability, and optimism oftentimes hindering performance in and out of the classroom. Over the span of several years, scientists have even suggested that a student’s lack of mental health most often leads them into severe depression or an anxiety disorder, resulting in lower grade point averages and deep isolation – a bad combination for student’s who feel alone, defeated, and exhausted.
As such, 60% of college students have reported experiencing one or more mental health challenges in 2021 leading to a nationwide push of university-funded programs, telehealth therapy sessions, one-on-one counseling sessions, and suicide prevention centers. With the after-effects of external factors like the COVID pandemic and other global issues, it’s easy to forget to keep up with your mental health during college, especially if you’re juggling work, family, finances, and other obligations.
Whether you just started college or are in your dissertation phase, there are several ways you can tend to your mental health without breaking the bank or taking a semester off. Interested in learning more? Read about a few methods you can consider to maintain your mental health.
1. Open Up To A Faculty Member You Trust
In Proverbs 18, Christians are reminded that friends can oftentimes stick closer than brothers, meaning we are gifted with people in our lives that can speak life into us when we’re going through challenging times that can feel unbearable. These “friends” can even be your professors or instructors. Trust us, your professor wants you to succeed and be the best student you can be. In a recent study, Inside Higher Ed and College Pulse surveyed thousands of students on how professors can support students; 39% agreed that professors should be an open space for discussion and conversations about mental health. And while, it should be noted that your professor is not necessarily a mental health expert, they do aim to provide different ways to communicate with them including sending them an email, attending office hours, or even staying behind and chatting after class.
If you sense that life is getting overwhelming, you need an extension on an assignment, or you need to talk about some life obstacles getting in the way of class time, consider talking with your professor and working together to come to a resolution. You might be surprised at how flexible and understanding they can be.
2. Get Organized
Whether it’s sleeping, studying at home, running errands, finishing an assignment or relaxing at the end of the evening, getting organized is vital to your mental health. Life can get pretty busy which can create the opportunity for you to forget things like keeping your dedicated study space tidy or staying on top of your assignments to the point where you can feel overrun, disorganized, and stressed out. That’s why creating something as simple as a checklist or using an organizational tool can help you get things in order without relying on your own memory.
In fact, using a tool that reminds you to complete certain tasks or creating a simple paper checklist can naturally help you get more things done and increase your overall productivity levels. With that renewed sense of accomplishment at the end of each day, you can relieve yourself of the stresses and worries that you’ve missed an assignment, forgot to do your laundry, or even reply to that email. Getting yourself organized can do wonders for your mental health including improving your sleep and relationships, freeing up time and energy to improve your life in other areas, reduce depression and anxiety, and even help you make better food choices and stick to a workout regime – all great indicators of you taking back control of your life.
Some helpful tools to get you started on organizing yourself are:
- Google Drive | A cloud platform with various applications dedicated to syncing documents, writing essays, creating presentations and even putting important dates on your calendar.
- Time Timer | A visual timer that can be utilized to manage your daily essential tasks like cooking a meal, managing screen time, completing school assignments, and so much more.
- Microsoft Office | A productivity software and cloud-based service owned by Microsoft focused on assisting students and working professionals to create, edit, and manage documents, presentations, and important deadlines.
- A Basic Checklist | With a simple checklist on a piece of paper or your phone, you can outline what you need to do for the day and check off the list as you complete them. This can even give you a greater sense of satisfaction by crossing things off the list and off your mind.
3. Take a Walk Outside
Going for a brisk walk outside can have amazing mental health benefits, including improving your attention, lessen your stress, increase your empathy, and even elevate your overall mood. In fact, walking is not only good for your mental health but also for your physical body as well. Whether you’re walking around your neighborhood, city block, or at a local park, getting some fresh air away from your desk or work space can significantly reduce your bottled-up stress and even get you to focus more. By just walking 20 minutes a day, you can also minimize all sorts of mental health issues. With just a little sunlight and air, you will see a great improvement in your overall sleep quality and attention span – great benefits for any college student.
4. Ask For Professional Help
Today, there are over 190,000 licensed therapists across the country, many of which are practicing via text, phone, or online chat. With the open accessibility, and sometimes low-cost to free services available through service providers like Betterhelp, Talkspace, and the Crisis Text line, there are a number of ways you can speak with a licensed professional should you need to. Talking with a licensed therapist can bring you new perspectives to consider about what you’re going through. Plus, with programs like ACU’s Student Wellness office, you can talk with servant-minded individuals looking to help you by asking questions related to how you feel, what’s been going on, and even pointing you in the right direction beyond counseling should you ever need it.
A student’s mental health should never be ignored. At ACU Online, we prioritize our students and their well-being as they embark on their educational journey and future professional careers. Teaching the importance of mental health while promoting an engaging virtual environment for students in all stages of life, ACU students can dive deeper into addressing their mental health concerns without feeling burdensome or embarrassed. Looking to learn more? Give us a call at 855-219-7300 or visit acu.edu/online to gather additional information.