Exams, competition, family pressures telling on students’ mental health

Millions of students across the country are suffering from mental stress and educational institutions are well aware of it. Addressing this concern, the Centre, various states and educational institutions are coming forward to save the students from mental disorders.

However, after Covid-19 pandemic, the number of students suffering from mental stress and disorders has increased further. According to experts, there are many causes of mental health disorders in youth and adolescents which include exam pressure, stress due to studies, competition from peers and family pressure.

Moreover, as the level of competition for seeking admission in educational institutions is on the rise, the pressure on the students is also increasing manifold. The result of this is mental disorders among the students and even school drop-outs.

Educational institutions have increased funding for mental health of students. This will help students suffering from mental stress to get primary mental healthcare in the schools itself.

According to the WHO, nearly 10 per cent of adolescents globally experience a mental disorder. What is more worrying is that they don’t have any recourse to any help or solution to their problems.

Statistics further suggest that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among youth between 15-19 years age group. These figures are a warning to educational institutions that mental health disorders among students are a significant crisis and need to be addressed at the earliest.

Pediatrician P.K. Sharma said that Covid-19 has played a major role in increasing mental health problems among adolescents. The circumstances created due to the lockdown and the Covid-19 safety norms created a vacuum, which has further affected people suffering from mental health.

Vinod Malhotra of Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group of Educational Institutions said that the present generation of school students are smarter and wiser than their predecessors, but are physically more fragile and mentally more stressed. These reasons are not difficult to understand.

However, the competition among students seeking admission in good educational institutions has increased to an alarmingly high level. The education system has a major role to play as it makes the current environment competitive and is putting a burden on the mental health of the children.

Malhotra adds that nuclear family practices have reduced the emotional support available from grandparents and other senior members of the family. From elders to youth, the concept of customs and values has become a thing of the past. Attention to these issues must necessarily shift to the school environment.

According to academicians, a vision statement is being revised to keep children happy in the school and encourage learning among them in a happy environment.

Sujata Shahi, Vice Chancellor, IILM University, Gurugram, said: “The causes of mental health issues include family problems, financial difficulties, feelings of isolation, social pressure, anxiety and stress due to studies. In order to understand and address the social, emotional and psychological problems of the student community, most of the universities have started “Counselling Cells” in their college campus. It provides adequate support to the students through active listening and timely response.”

Another powerful tool is the expert-driven training workshop which helps students identify, manage and solve problems with the integration of problem solving, conflict resolution, emotional intelligence and stress management along with regular curriculum. Also a conducive environment is needed to prioritise wellness.

Speaking on the issue, Karan Mehta of online test preparation platform ‘Toprankers’ said: “Preparation is the most important step to crack any exam. However, sometimes students feel anxiety over it.”

Helping student maintain personal motivation is essential for reducing mental stress. Sometimes, mental health is influenced by how parents react to different situations at home throughout the exam preparation cycle. To monitor this we organise regular parent-teacher meetings to remind them of their responsibilities to motivate the children.

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