Take care of students’ mental health

Mental health is a psychological state of well-being that allows us to feel at peace with ourselves and free from anxieties and pressures (or mental disorders) that influence our emotions negatively.

Mental disorders alter a person’s way of thinking and behavior and this suffering brings problems to their social and work life.

A mental disorder can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, level of education and social environment, but adolescents are most affected, especially during their studies.

The mental disorder could be caused by: childhood trauma, the socio-economic context, chronic diseases, substance abuse, lack of physical activity, problematic use of social media and more, various global events, including the pandemic, economic uncertainties and international tensions.

Following a survey given to students of a high school, it was found that out of 162 students, 41.1% studied on average for 2 to 3 hours a day, 25.9% for 3 to 4 hours, 25.3 % 1 hour and 7.6% more than 4 hours a day. Another aspect that could lead to having problems at school is the relationship with one’s classmates, and although there are 88.7% of students who have integrated and get along well with their classmates, there is still a 11.3% of students have difficulty integrating into the class group, also due to friendship groups already existing within it.

Isolation from the class group could be a reason for ridicule by classmates and could also lead to bullying, which unfortunately is still very present in schools.

In fact, it is reported that out of 162 students, 19.3% (31 students) of them suffer or have suffered in the past acts of bullying at school.

The relationship with professors is also very important and can influence a student’s life, 73.1% of students (out of 162) encountered problems with professors.

More than half of students are unable to talk about their problems at school with anyone; in fact, often the biggest problem is that one is unable, out of shame or fear, to ask someone for help in order to try to get out of certain situations. Those who are able to express their thoughts and talk about them turn to friends (23.6%) and parents (20.9%). However, it was found that despite the request for help, 44.4% of the students were still unable to solve the problem.

The school provides those who need it with psychological support who can be contacted outside school hours to talk about their problems. Unfortunately, however, only 9.7% of the students took advantage of it and many of them were not satisfied due to poor organization and little presence on the part of the school psychologists who in some cases no longer made themselves heard.

A girl took her own life in the bathrooms of a university in Milan on 1st February 2023. The police found a letter left by the girl in which she explains the reasons for the gesture. The young woman, who was enrolled in her first year at the Faculty of Arts and Tourism, apologizes in the letter, especially to her parents who supported the expenses for her studies and refers to an exam that was supposed to be held the previous day but which she did not attend. is never presented. The gesture can be traced back to the psychological weight that had accumulated on the girl, due to problems related to studying or planning her future.

More and more students are trapped in the spiral of depression due to school and too much study, which is why it is important to try to prevent extreme acts such as the one mentioned above; every student, whether university or otherwise, should follow these simple points or at least keep them in mind:

• learn to manage time, mental health is more important than everything else, you have to follow your own rhythms, take time to rest, you can’t just be focused on studying, it’s harmful.

• give up too much perfectionism, don’t try to get only the best, sometimes an exam passed with a lower grade is better than a high grade obtained at a high cost. The risk of perfectionism is to remain paralyzed and do nothing because you are unable to obtain perfect results.

• ask for help, if you feel you have too much anxiety or are falling into an apathy similar to depression, contact a professional or ask your family or friends for help. Some of the non-obvious symptoms of depression are: not wanting to leave the house, spending all your free time on books.

• find healthy ways to relieve stress, running, yoga, meditation, music, a hobby, the school sports center or even just evenings spent with friends, anything that helps you recharge your batteries can make the difference.

Lucrezia Ballotti, Chiara Bandini, Monica Chen, Michelle Hu, Emilia Luchi, Giulia Pretini, Vanessa Targioni, Virginia Viscillo (Ist. Buzzi, Prato – classe VB)

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