Depression is a mood disorder characterised by chronic sadness and a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities. It affects a person’s feelings, thoughts, and actions and can result in several medical and mental problems. On the other hand, normal grief or sadness are transient reactions to tragedy in life.
Most people think of mental health problems as something that only affects adults, but the truth is that they can also affect children and teenagers. Mental health problems are one of the leading causes of disability in young people.
According to Active Minds, 39% of college students experience mental health problems and the number two cause of young adult death. These statics are very alarming.
It’s essential to be aware of the early signs of mental health problems so that you can get help for your child if necessary.
Unfortunately, mental health issues often go undetected or are ignored until they reach a crisis point. By familiarising yourself with the early warning signs of mental health problems, you can help prevent these issues from becoming more serious.
Some of the early signs of mental health problems in students include:
● Withdrawing from friends and activities that they used to enjoy.
● Sudden changes in mood or behaviour.
● Difficulty concentrating or paying attention.
● Acting out in class or getting into fights with other students.
● Excessively worrying or feeling down.
● Frequently missing school or skipping class.
● Changes in eating or sleeping habits.
● Expressing hopelessness or feeling like there’s no point in living.
If you notice any of these signs in a student, you must talk to them about what’s happening and get them connected with resources and support if necessary.
Early intervention is key to helping students struggling with mental health issues. With the right help, most students can overcome challenges and lead happy and successful lives.
What to do if you are experiencing depression symptoms?
Physical activity can help reduce the symptoms of depression and improve your mood. Even a short walk can make a difference.
Connect with others
Depression can make you feel isolated and alone, but reaching out to family and friends can help you feel connected and supported.
Eating nutritious foods can help improve your mood and give you energy. Avoid sugary and processed foods, which can make depression symptoms worse.
The shower is a great way to wash away your worries, stress, and tension. Get in under the hot or cold water as desired, then just let it run over you for some time- no need to rinse!
It does not have to be anything significant. Organise one of a desk’s drawers. Five dirty dishes must be washed. Launder a load of clothes. Scrub the sink in the bathroom.
Listen to something energetic, bouncy, and loud, anything with a lot of energy. Even if you’re terrible at both, sing and dance to it.
Anything artistic: write a short tale or poem, draw a picture, create artistic GIFs, colour a picture, fold origami, crochet or knit, sculpt something out of clay. Even if you don’t think you’re exceptionally skilled at it. Create.
Get enough sleep
Sleep deprivation can worsen depression symptoms, so get enough rest each night.
Practise relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation can help reduce stress and promote feelings of calmness and well-being.
Seek professional help
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by depression, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counsellor.
Mental health is a significant issue for many students, and teachers and parents play an essential role in supporting struggling students. There are several ways to help a student suffering from mental health issues, including:
Encouraging them to seek professional help: If a student is exhibiting signs of mental distress, it is essential to encourage them to seek professional help. This can be in the form of therapy, medication, or both.
Helping them develop a support system: A supportive network of friends and family can be vital for someone struggling with mental health issues. Teachers and parents can help students develop this support system by connecting them with resources and people who can help.
Encouraging positive coping mechanisms: It is important to encourage students to find healthy ways to cope with their mental health issues. This may include exercise, journaling, or other activities that help them manage their symptoms.
By taking these steps, teachers and parents can play a vital role in supporting students with mental health issues.