The mental health issues among college students can vary from student to student. Although mental disorders and suicidal thoughts-behaviors are common among university students, most of the students are untreated. Attending college can very well be a stressful time for many students. In addition to coping with academic pressure, some students must deal with the stressful tasks of separation and individuation from their family of origin while some may have to attend to numerous work and family responsibilities. In this context, many college students experience the first onset of mental health and substance use problems. Given the uniqueness of college students, there is a need to outline critical issues. Outlining the critical issues is to consider when working with this population. (Paola Pedrelli, 2014) The issues devolved to the prevalence of psychiatric and substance use problems in college students and the significance of assessing age will offset the students’ psyche. Then, the concerning persistent nature of mental health problems among college students and its implications. (Paola Pedrelli, 2014) A mental illness can be beneficial and detrimental to one’s mental health. It may be beneficial when made in conjunction with mental health treatment that reduces symptoms and improves well-being. It can still be detrimental to the extent that the associated social stigma affects the diagnosed individual. This white paper’s focus is on the importance of treating students’ mental health issues and how college campuses can provide outlets for these students. By diagnosing a mental illness, it can bring great benefit to the one that suffers from the mental illness. The outlets could be counseling, in-person activities, learning about their mental issues, being paired with others that can relate, creative ways that can involve the parents, and anything else that can relieve the brain from the depressing feelings and thoughts caused by a mental disorder.
The first subject that needs to be brought to the light is what in the college environment is bringing these students to have mental illnesses or suicidal thoughts. On-campus there is a lot of living and experimenting while you are young. The student will have opportunities to engorge themselves with alcohol that will lead to a depressing lifestyle. There are prescription drugs that are all over campuses that the students will abuse to feel a high not realizing the effect that it has on their body and mental. Going back to how a mental illness can be both beneficial and detrimental to one’s mental health. People vary the amount of involving mental illness into their personal and social identities. While personal and social identities are related, people set boundaries between them. Personal identity refers to how central versus peripheral having a mental illness is to one’s sense of self, focusing on what makes one different from others. Social identity refers to how much one feels akin to, versus disengaged from, other individuals with mental illnesses, focusing on aspects of the self that one has in common with a social group (Stigma Management of Mental Illness: Effects of Concealment, Discrimination, and Identification on Well-Being, 2015). Both personal and social identities correlate to a person’s wellbeing. While some social groups are identifiable by visible attributes, such as skin color, other groups can conceal their identities. A concealable stigmatized identity is a socially devalued attribute that people can keep hidden, such as HIV/AIDS, history of sexual assault, or being previously incarcerated (Stigma Management of Mental Illness: Effects of Concealment, Discrimination, and Identification on Well-Being, 2015). People with mental illnesses fall along conspicuous and concealable. The figure below demonstrates the study of individuals that conceal their mental identity. Concealing one’s stigmatized identity may protect against direct discrimination and may decrease awareness of group discrimination.
These reasons are not the only thing that affects students. A large portion of students have mental disorders, they might not be all the same, but they all affect their academic performance. Anxiety disorder is one of the most prevalent problems among college students. Facing with approximately 11.9 % of college students suffering from an anxiety disorder. Among the anxiety disorders, the social phobia has an early age of onset (median age of onset between 7–14 years), while panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorders (GAD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have somewhat later onsets. (Paola Pedrelli, 2014) Another common mental health problem among college students is depression, with prevalence rates in college students of 7 to 9 % [1, 9]. (Paola Pedrelli, 2014) Suicide, although not a specific diagnosis, is the third leading cause of death among young adults and is a significant problem among college students. A large survey reported that among 8,155 students, 6.7 % reported suicidal ideation, 1.6 % reported having a suicide plan, and 0.5 % reported making a suicide attempt in the past year (Paola Pedrelli, 2014). Eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating are common and often have their onset during adolescence with a rapid increase in risk during early adulthood. For instance, a survey of 2,822 college students reported that 9.5% of students screened positive for an eating disorder Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) onsets during childhood and persists into adulthood in approximately one-half of cases and negatively affects many critical areas in young adults. Between 2 and 8 % of college students suffer from ADHD and approximately one-fourth of students receiving disability services have ADHD with a greater proportion of females relative to males (13.5 vs. 3.6 %, respectively) (Paola Pedrelli, 2014). A couple of other disorders consist of the autism spectrum and schizophrenia. They are not as high up on the list but are still extremely prevalent to cause depression while attending school. As a parent of these children, they should be aware of their child’s mental disorder and prepare them as much as possible or at least support them through these challenging times. Many parents should take the advantage of going to their child’s college campus to visit or go to an event with them. The student knowing their parent is willing to take the time to come see them will be much more appreciative and have a large amount of faith in who they can lean on.
Digging into treatments that have affected the mentally disordered and people with mental issues. Finding that there are so many different ways people can be treated, but ultimately it depends on the person. Motivational Interviewing is one way that a student can get help. Motivational Interviewing helps enhance engagement and adherence to psychosocial as well as pharmacological treatments (Paola Pedrelli, 2014). Another form of treatment is self-help books. These can be extremely helpful to the ones that are embarrassed or confused about why they act a certain way. Joining group activities on a college campus can boost the student’s confidence and give an outlet for them to handle their disorder. There are so many different treatments that can help these students. While looking at treatments, I also discover some treatment studies. This one is about several studies on interventions that help students cope with stress and mental health. The first study is on the barriers to mental health treatment. This study is about the reasoning behind why people do not go seek help. The barrier rated the most important was the preference to handle the problem alone (rated either “important” or “very important” by 56.4% of respondents) followed by wanting to talk with friends or relatives instead (48%) and being too embarrassed to seek help (32.2%). Structural barriers such as cost (24.1%) and anticipating problems with time, transportation, or scheduling (22.6%) were rated of lower importance than most attitudinal barriers (Ebert, 2019).
The next study that ties with the first one, is about predicting the likelihood to seek treatment in case of an emotional problem. Examining associations of treatment barriers and 12-month clinical characteristics in predicting reported intentions to seek treatment in case of a future emotional problem, again excluding from the analysis students who reported that they would seek treatment (Ebert, 2019).
After to discovering all this information about mental disorders among college students. In conclusion no one knows who has a mental disorder, that is why it prevalent that college campus supports their students. Along, with the parents doing as much as possible to be there for their children. The more we know about how common mental disorders and suicidal thoughts-behaviors can further the research for students to cope with their issues. The college students also experience the first onset of mental health and substance use problems. Not only they are students, but they are still young with so much to learn about the worlds and themselves. This is a stressful time for any person attending college. Whether or not the college campus will act is up to them. Students can very well find outlets to overcome their mental disorders. It just takes effort focused in the right places.
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