Mental Health Challenges Among Students and How to Manage Them
The mental well-being of students is an essential factor affecting their quality of life, relationships with family and friends, academic success, college satisfaction, and physical health.
Mental health challenges among students can negatively affect these areas of their lives, leaving long-term consequences that may impact their future employment growth and overall health conditions.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, about 50% of mental health problems are developed by age 14. By the age of 24, mental health challenges may develop about 75%. A recent study by the Frontiers suggests that academic stress may contribute to college student’s mental health and well-being.
Mental health challenges in students are a severe problem that can lead to poor performance by affecting their energy and concentration levels, dependability skills, and optimistic behavior.
Mental health problems should be treated at the earliest. For instance, Los Angeles Mental Health Clinic, an expert in treating mental health issues, can help combat significant mental health challenges.
Undoubtedly, many students may experience various mental health challenges while attending college or university. The sooner the mental health challenges are identified, the better for improving them. However, only a small number of them go noticed and treated.
Some significant mental health challenges students face today include depression, anxiety, substance misuse, suicidal ideation, etc. Here are the symptoms to identify the mental health challenges and methods to deal with them.
Depression disorder is among the most common mental health challenges many students face. It is a severe mental health disorder that may significantly impact students’ personal and academic lives.
People suffering from depression may feel worthless about themselves. They may also have a loss of interest in activities that were previously considered enjoyable.
Other symptoms of depression include mood swings, irregular sleeping patterns or difficulty in sleeping, changes in appetite, social withdrawal, difficulty concentrating, etc.
Another common mental health challenge that students face is an anxiety disorder. The pressure of college responsibilities, family, peers, and other components of daily life can easily contribute to panic or tension. However, continuous experiences of anxiety can interfere with everyday life.
Some common symptoms of anxiety disorders include stress, irritation, anger, fear, trouble concentrating, headaches, etc.
Substance Use or Misuse
Frequent use of certain drugs and alcohol can easily lead to addiction. It gives rise to solid cravings and is precisely characterized by psychological and physical dependence.
In short, substance misuse is the psychological and physical dependence on substances.
Emotionally and mentally, it helps the person to cope with certain emotions or situations, and physically it helps the person to function normally.
Addiction to substances like nicotine, alcohol, prescribed drugs, medication, etc., affects the behavior and mental abilities of those consuming them. Genetics, family detachment, peer pressure, relationship trouble, and other mental disorders are some of the contributing factors to substance misuse.
Symptoms of substance use or misuse include intense cravings for the substance, unable to stop consuming the substance, consuming in larger quantities, change in appearance, etc.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or simply ADHD, may be carried into adolescence from childhood. ADHD in students may lead to poor academic performance, substance misuse, social difficulties, etc.
Symptoms of ADHD can include a short attention span, easily forgetting things, being unable to carry out time-consuming tasks or instructions, etc.
Other symptoms of ADHD are constant fidgeting, inability to stay put, interrupting discussions, inability to focus on tasks, etc.
Suicidal Ideation and Intent
Suicidal ideation is the process of contemplating or planning suicide.
Students with mental health conditions like severe depression are more inclined towards suicidal attempts or suicidal ideation than adults. Students experiencing excessive self-doubt, stress, and frustration may consider suicide when these feelings get too powerful.
Common symptoms to identify suicidal ideation or students inclined towards attempting suicide include signs of depression, mood swings, feelings of being trapped, being a burden, feeling humiliated, feeling no reason to live, withdrawing from friends and family, etc.
Eating disorders are common and mostly develop during youth days with a significant risk of increase in adulthood. Eating disorders may develop in adolescence for several reasons, like poor body image, genetics, other mental disorders, etc.
Students with low self-esteem, stress, pressure from friends or family, troubled relationships, etc., are more at risk of developing eating disorders.
Symptoms of eating disorders start with baby steps like skipping meals and using reasons to justify.
Other symptoms include focusing excessively on exercise and healthy eating habits, overeating sweets or meals high in fats, expressing guilt or shame regarding eating habits, etc.
What can be done to help students combat mental health challenges?
Often it has been wrongly assumed that talking about mental health challenges may be intrusive or out of place. However, having meaningful and open-minded conversations about such issues is very crucial.
It starts with being direct and open about the symptoms. It is necessary that students, the particularly vulnerable age group, understand the consequences of mental health challenges.
Students must be encouraged to open up and motivated to seek help from mental health experts. Los Angeles Mental Health Clinic can help to improve mental health conditions and lead better lives.
Also, students may often feel responsible and blamed for their mental health challenges, leading to defensive behaviours. As parents and caregivers, it is essential to be patient with the youth. Instead of feeling blamed or at fault, they must feel understood and supported.
A person’s mental health comprises factors like emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It influences how a person may think, feel and act about something. It also establishes how the person may interact with others, deal with stressful situations or make crucial decisions.
A person’s mental health at each stage of life is different. For instance, an infant’s mental state differs from that of an adolescent, which is again different from that of an adult or a person in old age.
It can be said that students are most prone to develop mental health disorders which may interfere with their academics, personal lives, and future growth. Understanding mental health at each stage of life is essential to leading a happy life.
Author Bio: Dr. Joann Mundin is a board-certified psychiatrist who has been practicing since 2003. She is a diplomate with the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and a fellow with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. She is currently associated with Savant Care, a Los Angeles Mental Health Clinic, where she provides assessments and treatment for patients with severe mental illnesses.
Tests from a pair of bats confirm Hamilton’s first two rabies cases for 2023
Hamilton public health (HPH) confirmed on Thursday a pair of bats recently tested positive for rabies, the first cases since last summer.
The city says, so far, there have been no reported interactions with humans since a resident was bit early last year.
Health officials continue to advise Hamiltonians the city is still in a rabies outbreak, which started in 2016 primarily due to the discovery of at least 200 positive cases that year including 123 raccoons and 73 skunks.
Most cases over the last eight years have involved raccoons, accounting for 215 discoveries in all.
The overall risk for human infections from bats is low with only 13 confirmations in tests since 2016.
Despite going years without a positive raccoon rabies case, HPH supervisor Jane Murrell says they haven’t shaken off outbreak status due to incidents in neighbouring municipalities.
“The problem is Niagara region is still having some positives and we are within 50 kilometers,” Murrell explained.
Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal — usually through a bite, but can also enter the body upon contact, through scratches, open wounds, or mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes.
Murrell says the easiest way to eliminate the risk of contracting rabies is to avoid contact with animals that carry it, like the aforementioned bats, raccoons and skunks.
Hamilton included in Ontario’s ‘estimated risk areas’ for Lyme disease
Hamilton continues to be considered a risk area for black-legged ticks and has the potential for residents to contract Lyme disease.
Public Health Ontario has once again included the city on its latest map demonstrating the estimated risk areas for the affliction.
Murrell says despite the designation, the true risk of infection to residents is very low.
More on Health
The Ontario Lyme Disease Map: Estimated Risk Areas is updated annually. It provides information to assist public health professionals and clinicians in their management of Lyme disease.
“There is potential for some of those ticks to carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease but not all black-legged ticks carry that bacteria,” Murrell said.
“So the majority of our ticks in the city are still brown-legged dog ticks, which don’t carry Lyme.”
Hamilton hit a ten-year high in 2021 for Lyme disease cases acquired locally with 27 reported to HPH.
It’s a bump of more than 20 cases compared to the previous year (2020) when HPH had just six cases in the city.
Between 2013 and 2022, the city has been averaging just over two cases per year.
Public health is suggesting caution when removing a tick suggesting tweezers and grasping the bug as close to the skin as possible and pulling it straight out, gently but firmly.
Squeezing a tick should be avoided as it can cause secretions that can lead to Lyme disease to escape into a person’s body.
Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, which is spread through the bite of infected black-legged ticks, according to Public Health Canada.
Typically, infected black-legged ticks need to be attached for at least 24 to 36 hours in order to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Symptoms can take anywhere from a few days to four weeks to appear. They include fever, headaches, tiredness and a skin rash at the bite location.
If untreated, the more severe scenarios include joint pain, severe headaches with neck stiffness or heart palpitations.
Flavanols are linked to better memory and heart health – here’s what foods you can eat to get these benefits – Yahoo Canada Sports
There are plenty of good reasons to make sure you’re eating enough fruit and vegetables each day. Not only do fruit and vegetables contain many of the important vitamins and minerals our body needs to function at its best, they also keep our gut healthy and may even help maintain a healthy weight.
But some plant foods may be more beneficial for health than others, thanks to a group of compounds called flavanols.
For instance, a recent study I helped conduct showed that people who eat a diet high in flavanol-rich foods may have better memory compared to those who have a low intake. A previous study also found that people with a low intake of flavanols were at higher risk of heart disease. Overall, there’s convincing evidence that consuming enough flavanols has health benefits.
But while research shows that flavanols have many health benefits, it’s important for consumers to know that not all flavanol-rich foods contain the same amount of flavanols – meaning some may be more beneficial to health than others.
Flavanols are a group of compounds that are found in many plants – including apples, berries, plums and even beverages such as tea.
There are two main groups of flavanols, with many different subgroups. Each plant will contain different combinations of flavanols, as well. These compounds each have different structures and different effects on the body. That means that not all flavanols are created equal.
For example, a portion of blueberries and a cup of tea may contain the same amount of total flavanols – but they are made up of completely different types of flavanols, which may have completely different health effects.
So in order to investigate the health effects of flavanols, it’s therefore important to use a source which includes a wide range of different types. This is why flavanols extracted from cocoa are an ideal model, as they contain the two main types of flavanols. It also allows researchers to calculate which other foods are likely to have benefits based on how similar the compounds they contain are to cocoa flavanols.
Since foods such as cocoa, berries and tea contain a combination of many types of flavanols, it’s currently not clear which individual compounds generate health benefits. But some research has linked the specific flavanol epicatechin with better vascular function. Cocoa and tea both contain epicatechin.
Many different types
Another thing to know is that even if a food contains flavanols, it may contain lower amounts compared to others.
To better understand how flavanol intake affects health, a few years ago we developed a test that uses urine to measure flavanol intake. The test is based on the way the human body processes flavanols and tells us whether someone has eaten large amounts, small amounts or no flavanols at all.
Using this test, we were able to show that people with high flavanol intake had lower blood pressure and better memory than those with lower intake.
When we developed the urine test, we also investigated how it is affected by different types of flavanols and foods. This allowed us to estimate what amount of different flavanol-rich foods a person needs to consume to achieve approximately 500mg of flavanols per day – similar to the amount used in studies, which has been shown to have clinical benefit.
According to our research, only two-and-a-half cups of green tea are needed daily to get the recommended 500mg of flavanols. Just under a cup of millet (sorghum grain) can also provide you with the recommended daily amount.
But if you were to try and get your flavanols from one type of fruit and vegetable, our research shows you’d need to consume large amounts of each to achieve the recommended amount. For example, you’d need to consume nearly 15 cups of raspberries alone to get 500mg of flavanols.
As such, the best way to get enough flavanols daily is by consuming a combination of different fruits and vegetables. For example two apples, a portion of pecan nuts and a large portion of strawberries can achieve the 500mg target – or a salad made with millet and fava beans.
It’s also important to note that while the flavanols used in many studies were extracted from cocoa, unfortunately chocolate (even dark chocolate) is a very poor source of flavanols – despite what some headlines might claim. This is because these flavanols are lost during processing.
Although there’s still much we don’t know about flavanols – such as why they have the effect they do on so many aspects of our health – it’s clear from the research we do have that they are very likely beneficial to both memory and heart health.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Gunter Kuhnle has received research funding from Mars, Inc., a company engaged in flavanol research and flavanol-related commercial activities.
‘Social deprivation’ speeds up aging, and death: McMaster study
We are dying every day, wrote Seneca, a stoic philosopher in ancient Rome.
And if you struggle living alone or have weak familial bonds, you risk speeding up death by as much as one year, according to findings published by McMaster University on Monday.
The new study shows that biological clocks tick faster for those dwelling in an environment of social deprivation (a dearth of family or community network resources) or material poverty, such as lacking access to quality housing, healthy food and recreation.
McMaster’s Divya Joshi, the study’s first author, said the findings indicate that living in a “deprived urban neighbourhood” marked by either form of deprivation is associated with “premature biological aging.”
Joshi is a research associate in the university’s Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact.
“If your (biological) systems are aging faster than your chronological age, then you will have more poor health outcomes, or quicker health outcomes, than someone who is aging slower biologically,” she told The Spectator.
The study analyzed DNA from the blood samples of 1,445 participants across Canada, who are part of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging that is following 50,000 people between age 45 to 85.
“Epigenetic clocks” studied in the samples — also called “DNA methylation-based estimators” — indicated aging at the cellular level, she said.
“To be able to see that living in a socially or materially deprived neighbourhood impacts your healthy aging; that it increases your risk of epigenetic age acceleration by almost a year, beyond your individual health status — I think that is just remarkable,” she said.
When your biological age outpaces your calendar age, she said you have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, respiratory conditions and neurological disorders that present a “greater risk of premature mortality.”
The findings fit their research hypothesis, she said, but what didn’t fit was the assumption that depression in the test subjects would further “amplify” the rapid aging effect.
In fact, while depression symptoms also contributed to epigenetic aging, environmental factors impacted aging acceleration regardless of depression symptoms.
The findings were published June 5 in “The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.”
McMaster professor Parminder Raina led the research team, which included investigators from the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland, according to a news release.
While the presentation of the findings focused on the connection to disadvantaged neighbourhoods, Joshi agreed that an individual will age more rapidly when deprived of familial or social bonds, regardless of where they live.
“That is true, there is evidence that those people who have poor social networks or broken family units have a greater risk of higher epigenetic age acceleration … It is aging you, and that is so relevant coming out of the pandemic, and the isolation many people experienced, especially the toll it had on our older populations.”
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