Academic Stress and the Deteriorating Mental Health of Students

Mental health is a severe problem in the whole world. Its most common cause is the stress that comes with academics and careers. Just a few decades ago, students were considered to be the least vulnerable to stress because studying wasn’t considered a stressful activity, but with the increased workload and competition, this is no longer the case. It won’t be wrong to say that, predominantly, it isn’t the academic aspect that causes the most stress; it’s the expectations of others attached to the outcomes of these academics. In attempts to carry the burden of their parents’ aspirations, students tend to overburden themselves to an unbearable extent.

It is prevalent for parents in Pakistan to impose their wishes on their children. In doing so, they tend to overlook their children’s desires and personal goals. Instead, they prepare their child’s mind to choose a career of their liking, which leads to the child’s ambitions being suppressed. Although it’s not wrong for parents to have a say in career paths for their children, parents should always ask their children where their interest lies and have discussions with their teenager, guiding them to a suitable choice. If this is overlooked, most of the time, children cannot meet these parental expectations, and to please their parents, they exhaust themselves with career paths they don’t even find compatible with their personalities. To add to this, most students do not vent out their feelings; instead, this pressure leads to anxiety and, in some cases, depression.  

According to a research, in Pakistan, the mean overall prevalence of anxiety and depression in the population is 33.62%, and Pakistan ranks at number 9 in the WHO’s study of countries with the highest depression rates.

Not all stress affects negatively, though; adaptive stress stimulates the body to work harder and often results in the student feeling a buzz of energy, being focused, and having a clear mindset. However, when students stop handling it effectively, the consequences to their mental health and day-to-day dealings are evident.

Another eminent cause of stress is peer pressure, although there are some other causative factors too. In today’s competitive world, a person is heavily influenced by their peers. Whether it is academics, personality traits, or materialistic articles, one’s peers affect mental health drastically.

  Stress can be managed in the following ways:

  1. Get a good night’s sleep: Most students pull all-nighters for last-minute studies before their exams which only adds to their stress. 
  1. Try to stay active: Studies have proven that regular physical activity can reduce stress as the body produces hormones called endorphins which act as natural pain killers.
  1. Do not socially isolate yourself: Talking face to face with a person you trust can help reduce stress. A friend’s company can have a positive influence on you.
  1. Take up some hobbies: Keep yourself busy in indoor and outdoor activities, and explore clubs and societies your college/university offers to connect to more people.
  1. Have a proper diet: In times of anxiety and stress, people lose their appetite and do not eat properly. This, in turn, can lead to poor brain functioning, fatigue, and lethargy, leading to significant issues in the student’s academic and personal life.
  1. Feel free to talk to a professional: If you feel like the stress is too much to handle, talk to a counselor. They can tell you precisely what is causing the stress and will brief you on ways to manage it. Whether career-related queries or anything else, a professional is best equipped to handle this, and there’s no harm in getting treatment.

 If your stress is career-related, do not hesitate to use our KisSenior facility on our website https://kisuni.org/kis-senior-form/. We will be more than willing to help you!