4 Mental Health Challenges College Students May Face

By: Marie Fincher

College can be stressful with a change of home, new people, demanding tasks, fear of failure & other factors that can lead to mental health issues in students.

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Every phase of our lives comes with certain burdens and difficulties. We face challenges wherever we go, and we fall down more than we want to. The same goes for being a college student. However rewarding and fulfilling the entire college experience may be, there are still struggles many students need to endure.

Unfortunately, not everyone is strong enough to power through obstacles and find their own way out. Consequentially, many students face mental health challenges and find themselves at the verge of losing it. In order to prevent that from happening or help you overcome those challenges, we’ve put together a list of 4 mental health challenges you may face as a student and ways of overcoming them.

1. Anxiety

As defined by the Oxford Dictionary, anxiety is “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome”.

Even though we all feel this way sometimes, it can be very dangerous if anxiety overcomes our mental health and becomes the dominating state of mind.

Due to sudden lifestyle changes, piled up school projects and a lot of responsibilities- college students face anxiety in its worst form.

The most common symptoms of anxiety are:

Depending on the level of your anxiety and how far it has come, there are two ways of dealing with it:

If your anxiety is mild and not alarming, but still causes minor troubles for you, try dealing with it yourself. Detect what causes your anxiety. Then, try removing the source and battling it with common sense and working on yourself.

If anxiety is interfering with your social life, tasks accomplishment, success in school and emotional life, you need to seek professional help in dealing with it. A mental health provider or a doctor can help you overcome it and be yourself again.

2. Sleep Disorders

If you feel that sleep disorders aren’t supposed to be taken seriously, you’re wrong.

Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, also known as insomnia, is a serious condition causing damage to both mental and physical health of a person experiencing it.

Lack of sleep is known to cause:

As reported by the Harvard Medical School “only 11 percent of American college students sleep well, and 40 percent of students feel well rested only two days per week.”

The numbers are alarming and it’s obvious that a great number of college students struggle with insomnia.

So, what causes it and how can you overcome it?

Insomnia can be caused by various medical and psychiatric factors. For college students, most common causes are:

Overcoming insomnia is about taking control of your emotions, thoughts and striving for a more healthier lifestyle.

  • Try setting up a regular sleeping schedule and stick to it.
  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Avoid alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and other addictive substances.
  • Exercise, meditate and work on your mental health.

Again, if you fail to succeed in overcoming insomnia on your own, reach out for professional help. Just don’t ignore it, because it won’t go away just like that.

It’s perfectly normal to experience sadness, disappointment and mixed emotions every once in a while. These emotions come naturally when you’re having a bad day, you’re going through a rough and emotional period in life or something bad happens to you.

However, if these emotions become overwhelming, lasting longer than they should and influencing your everyday life, you might be feeling depressed. With college students, depression prevalence rates are usually 7–9 %.

  • feeling sad, pessimistic and down all the time
  • hopelessness
  • loss of interest for anything
  • suicidal thoughts
  • feeling “empty”
  • loss of appetite or binging
  • insomnia or sleeping too much

Depression needs to be taken seriously and treated by a professional. If you are experiencing the symptoms above, don’t panic. It’s not the end of the world. You do, however, need to seek guidance and help in overcoming it. Visit your doctor and talk openly about your problems. He’ll tell you what to do next.

4. Eating Disorders

“Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness” according to the National Eating Disorders Association.

College students are likely to develop some forms of eating disorders due to rapid lifestyle changes, wanting to fit in and lose weight and the appearance of other mental health issues. Eating disorders are not just about skipping meals.

The most severe forms include:

In addition, the health risks are immense and the consequences of eating disorders are:

  • risk of heart failure
  • nausea and vomiting
  • weakened intestines
  • fainting and dizziness
  • hormonal imbalance
  • kidney failure

It’s obvious that eating disorders can cause your health to deteriorate severely. This is why it’s important to know ways of overcoming them.

If you detect any of the symptoms of eating disorders and realize you or someone you know needs help, don’t hesitate in asking for it. Early detection is an advantage which is why you should act upon it immediately. Contact a helpline or go straight to your doctor. Start fighting it as soon as you realize it’s real and it’s happening to you.


College is a stressful period of life. There’s the change of home, new people, demanding tasks, fear of failure and other factors that influence the appearance of mental health issues with college students. Even though these problems are common, it doesn’t mean they are normal and they’ll go away on their own.

Mental health issues require treatment, counseling and fighting against. Make sure you don’t push your problems under the rug but face them instead. It’s the only true way of overcoming mental health problems, so go for it.

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Marie Fincher is a teacher, writer, photographer, and adventurer with a passion for helping children and young people reach their full potential. She blogs at Trust My Paper, where she shares insights into creating the perfect research paper, data science, and related topics.

Originally published at https://thedoctorweighsin.com on November 8, 2018.

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