Stress Among College Students

by Adam J. Lavoie on March 7, 2016 - 8:36pm

Stress is everywhere. We often see it with people who work too much or have financial problems, but since a couple years students have emerged as the group who is suffering the most from stress. The report Lower Saint-Lawrence: the end of semester, source of stress of Réjean Desmeules from Radio Canada shows how students from here are affected by anxiety and depression. Francesca Di Meglio from Bloomberg.com also provides a great view of the subject with her article Stress Takes Its Toll on College Students on suicide among college student and Cornell University’s preventing methods. Plus, Gregg Henriques shares his knowledge on mental health with his article The College Student Mental Health Crisis.

First of all, at the University of Quebec at Rimouski, over a hundred of them consult the school’s psychologist, who affirm having diagnosed major depressions and burn-outs. The level of anxiety of these students student is abnormally high and most of them think regularly about dropping out. The director of student services points out that the stress and anxiety suffered by the student comes mostly from the exam period, the semester endings and the mid-terms. In this local report, Desmeules did a great job of sharing the problems encountered by a lot of troubled learners with the implication a big network wouldn’t have been able to give and this involvement gave a better understanding of the situation.

Then, we have the case of the Cornell University, which developed a reputation for having an abnormal number of suicides on campus. However, the director of counseling and psychological services mention that it is not the number of suicide that is anomalous but how they are committed, since up to 40 percent of them at Cornell are jumping death and only two percent nationally for the same statistic. The University provides help through a lot of services such as psychiatrists, counselors, psychologist and many others. It is in the 90s that the school doubled its staff and expended its mental health services. In the same article, written by Francesca Di Meglio, we can find out that in 2012, almost 40 percent of college student seeking help already have severe psychological problems, which is 16 percent more than in 2000. The situation in Cornell could be perceived as more dramatic than at the UQAR because there is not any case of suicide at the school located in Rimouski but let’s not forget that Cornell University welcomes a lot more students every year then the UQAR does so it is more difficult to provide a good learning environment for everybody. Both institutions give a lot of services to their undergraduates but since there community in Rimouski is smaller, the reporter was able to interviews the students themselves while only the school representatives were part of the article about Cornell. That contact made the situation more understandable and gave a better idea of what the students were facing every semester.

Also, a lot of statistical evidences about the mental health of students are shared in the last article mentioned earlier. Up to 30 percent of college freshmen were overwhelmed by school work in 2012. In 2013, a survey among college undergraduates found out that 40 percent of men and 57 of women were having episodes of overwhelming anxiety. High school students of the 2000s were experiencing the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patients of the 1950s according to a study. These alarming facts show how much stress among students and young adults is a big issue that needs to be taken care of in a better way than it is now. Plus, according to a study from the American College Health Association (ACHA), the rate of suicide among young adults (15 to 24 years of age) has tripled since the 50s. The same study found out that 9.4 percent of these individuals attempted suicide at least once in the last year. Others effect of mental illnesses caused by anxiety and stress are eating and drinking disorders, lack of sleep and violence. The average college student average about six hours of sleep while a healthy night of sleep should be of 8 hours or more and this deprivation of sleep is of course associated with mental health problems. Although this article isn’t about a particular story, Henriques did a great job sharing the issue that is stress and anxiety among college students and his knowledge on the subject of mental health give a lot of credibility to his words.

Finally, I think that since today’s student are tomorrow’s workers*, their mental health should be a priority. If we want our society to be filled with thoughtful and sane people, we have to find what the problems are in the school system and how they could be fixed. Maybe the governments could find the places where college undergraduates suffer from the less stress and anxiety and copy the methods used by these institutions. The most important thing is that the issue is taken care of because the help students have received recently is clearly not enough to prevent them from mental illness and the future of our society depends on it.

 

Desmeules, Réjean. Bas-Saint-Laurent : la fin de session, source de stress. http://ici.radio-canada.ca/regions/est-quebec/2012/12/13/009-stress-etudiants-uqar.shtml, December 13th, 2012

Di Meglio, Francesca. Stress Takes Its Tolls on College Students. http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2012-05-10/stress-takes-its-toll-on-college-students, May 10th, 2012

Henriques, Gregg. The College Student Mental Health Crisis https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/theory-knowledge/201402/the-college-student-mental-health-crisis, Febuary 15th, 2014

Comments

Your post is extremely well written and gives the reader a lot of information about stress among college students, a topic that is extremely pertinent in recent years. The impact of location is very important as the topic is not seen the same way across the world and that gives a very different perspective on the topic. Various theories such as constructivism state that our own set of values and beliefs is modeled after what we were taught in our life according to the place we were born. That can explain how people from Quebec can see a topic in a completely different way than in the United States, United Kingdom or any other country in the world which has its own sociocultural particularities.

I really enjoyed reading your text. It is really well written and it flows really well. The various facts and examples you put really spiced up your text and made it extremely interesting. I like the topic you chose as we, students, can relate to it. Anxiety and stress are present in almost every school. I find that by adding a gender lens to that article, we can see another cause of stress. As we live in a patriarchal world view, where society values hegemonic masculinity, it can put a lot of stress on students. Many people police others on how they express their masculinity, forcing them to concord to the "man box". In the box, there are many words describing men that society values, such as strong, tough, in control, powerful and intimidating. And outside the box, there are words that certain men are called if they do not conform to the "man box". These words are often related to homosexuality. Many students then feel pressured to conform to it and are always on guard at school to make sure they stay masculine and strong, adding unnecessary stress. People that are called names and picked on for not conforming to the "man box" can feel excluded and it can lead to depression and suicide. Wanting to prove their masculinity, many men even turn to violence. The patriarchal also affects women negatively as they are seen as inferior than men. It can cause discouragement that once again can lead to suicide and depression. In brief, the patriarchal world view can bring a lot of stress to students already dealing with a lot of stress from school work. Therefore, the problem might not only be on our educational system, but also brought by the world view of our current society.
Here is a link if you want more information on the man box: http://www.wgac.colostate.edu/men-and-masculinities

About the author

21 y/o
Ahuntsic, Montreal
Concordia University - TESL
Tau Kappa Epsilon -kappa chi (fall 2018)
IFC - Vice President External