New York: A majority (83 per cent) of students said their mental health had negatively impacted their academic performance in the past month and that two-third of college students are struggling with loneliness and feeling isolated amid the pandemic, according to a new survey.
The survey, which involved 33,000 college students in the US, revealed that the prevalence of depression and anxiety in young people continues to increase, now reaching its highest levels, a sign of the mounting stress factors caused by the pandemic.
Students found positive for depression
“Half of the students in fall 2020 screened positive for depression and/or anxiety,” said researcher Sarah Ketchen from the Boston University.
The results revealed that 94 per cent of the students said they wouldn’t judge someone for seeking out help for mental health, which the researchers say is an indicator that also correlates with those students who are likely to seek help themselves during a personal crisis (although, paradoxically, almost half of the students said they perceive that others may think more poorly of them if they do seek help).
“We’re harsher on ourselves and more critical of ourselves than we are with other people — we call that perceived versus personal stigma. Students need to realise, your peers are not judging you,” Lipson said.
Mental health needs
According to Lipson, the survey’s findings underscore the need for university teaching staff and faculty to put mechanisms in place that can accommodate students’ mental health needs.
“The faculty needs to be flexible with deadlines and remind students that their talent is not solely demonstrated by their ability to get a top grade during one challenging semester,” Lipson said.