Keep calm, stay balanced

Zulema Victoria , Guest Columnist

A balance between school, loved ones, work, and health. Too much to handle? It seems so to the hundreds of thousands of college students facing this challenge around the world. Determined to do the best in classes and succeed weighs heavy on the well-being of a student that spends hours on end learning, reviewing, and studying. With college putting pressure and an emotional strain on students when there are deadline dates, tests, and more, during the time they attempt to handle it on their own, the outcome is not always a comforting reality. For this reason, not only should students, but the people connected to them become aware of the impact this can have on their mental health if not handled with care.

Poor mental health can cause sleep deprivation, depression, anxiety, stress, and eating disorders. Having an unhealthy mind not only is affected by, but affects academic performance, according to Henriques (2014), he states, “In 2004 the Mental Health Task Force on Graduate Student Mental Health at the University of California Berkeley surveyed its graduate students and revealed 45% had experienced an emotional or stress-related problem in the last 12 months that significantly affected their well-being and/or academic performance.”

Anxiety and stress can also sprout from that fear in which how complete and on time their own work will be. With all of these influences on a student’s mental health, it is hard not to consider attempting to take one’s own life. Referring back to Henriques (2014) the author expresses, According to the American College Health Association (ACHA) the suicide rate among young adults, ages 15-24, has tripled since the 1950s and suicide is currently the second most common cause of death among college students.” Even if a student is not considering that specific end result, the behaviors they are carrying with them should be given attention for a healthier outcome.

There are multiple ways for students to keep track of their mental health and one of them is specifically offered at LMC through the Student Wellness Program (SWP.) The program, which begins the first week of October, runs throughout the academic year, twice a week at the Pittsburg campus and once at the Brentwood Center. This program is designed to provide students with services when they feel they are at risk to themselves and need a welcoming environment to share their thoughts. As long as the LMC student is enrolled in a minimum of 6 units, they are qualified to be given 7 free sessions to speak to a therapist to be able to get the help they need. While those sessions are in progress, a student can strengthen their mental health by building a support system at home, monitoring their symptoms, maintaining healthy habits, and reducing their academic stress. Getting support from others and communicating provides stability and safety in the lives of those struggling to balance and protect their mind. Maintaining healthy habits, according to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) are referred to as, “Exercising, eating a balanced diet and getting between 7-9 hours of sleep will give you more energy, help you focus better, and keep you emotionally resilient.” Good physical health compliments mental health in which a student can feel content both in a salutary and mindful way.

So college students, be aware and take care of yourselves because being concerned in the beginning can gradually relieve the discomfort with ease, as your mental health is a priority.