Mental health is just as important as physical health

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How much do college students take care of themselves? And I’m talking mentally here. We take pride in our physical appearance, and if we are not feeling the best we tend to visit the doctor. Well, our mental health is just as important as our physical health. We need to be more aware of just how much our mental health can hinder our lives if we do not take care of it.

College is such a hectic time in our lives because we are juggling many different things at the one time, while also trying to succeed the best we can in school. We are trying to balance our relationships, we are trying to figure out who we are as individuals and what we want out of this life. It’s not absurd that we can sometimes feel a little overwhelmed, and it’s okay to not be happy every single day. Every now and again we all need a break, we need to take a breath and take a step back.

According to the American Psychological Association, mental health is a growing concern among college students. Surveys found that anxiety is the leading concern among college students with 41.6 percent suffering from anxiety, 36.4 percent suffering from depression and 35.8 percent suffering from relationship problems. So, what is causing this increase in anxiety and depression among college students? I believe that the general pressures of college are the leading cause, but we also have factors such as technology, social media and societal expectations to conform.

We are constantly bombarded with standards that we are expected to uphold, which causes an increase in stress-related illnesses due to the pressures of trying to succeed in every aspect of our lives. Technology and social media are huge contributors as we are presented with particular ‘norms’ that we feel we need to look a certain way, act a certain way or be at a specific stage of our lives at a specific age. “Psychology Today” blogger, Dr. Gregg Henriques, labels the current generation as the ‘Age of Anxiety’ as there is a reported 1,200 percent increase in anxiety disorders since 1980.

With the rapid increase in mental health issues, it’s important that students are aware that they are not alone and that there is support out there to help them through difficult times. From personal experience, I can say that the health and wellness facilities such as counselors and nurses on campus are exceptional at their jobs, and are there to help with the smallest of problems. I urge any fellow students to not be afraid to speak up about any struggles they may be facing and know that it is not weak to ask for help every now again. We all need people to lean on, may it be a friend, family member or a complete stranger, such as a counselor. Trust me, it is a huge help just to vent about whatever it is you are feeling, as hard as it may be to put into words.