Learn to recognize and mitigate mental health issues | New

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Stress can often be more than the healthy boost a student needs to study, meet deadlines, get to class on time, or stay motivated. It can be overwhelming, a heavy weight on a person’s shoulders that deteriorates physical and mental health.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, frequent and intense stress can tire the body and make it impossible to function. Long-term stress causes the brain to release cortisol, which weakens the immune system and increases susceptibility to disease.

According to the NAMI, the physical and mental manifestations of stress can include headaches, trouble sleeping, jaw pain, changes in appetite, recurrent mood swings, difficulty concentrating, and feeling overwhelmed. ‘to be surpassed. Stress can also worsen existing mental illnesses, promote hallucinations and delusions in schizophrenia, or trigger episodes of mania and depression in people with bipolar disorder.

Overwhelming school stress can demotivate students, reduce overall academic achievement and lead to increased dropout rates, according to the Jed Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates for suicide prevention and mental health protection. This stress can also cause depression, trouble sleeping, addiction, and anxiety.

The mental health issues facing young people in the United States have led some government entities, including the US Surgeon General and the University of Texas system, to gather research and recognize the need for support.

The U.S. Surgeon General issued a public health advisory last year about “alarming increases” in some mental health conditions because “even before the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered young people’s experiences at home, at school and in the community”.

Quoted by the Surgeon General, a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2020 found that 37% of high school students said they had experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in the past year that made them feel worse. prevented from participating in their regular activities. This figure shows a 40% increase since 2009.

In the same report, the CDC found substantial differences between youth groups. Almost half of female students reported a lingering feeling of sadness or hopelessness, while about 70% of students with same-sex partners reported these feelings.

Although they have increased since before the pandemic, these challenges have been exacerbated by COVID-19, disproportionately for those who were already vulnerable, according to the advice of the Surgeon General.

The social and economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is most acute for low-income communities and Black and Hispanic people, according to a 2021 report from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.

Poverty rose from 10.5% in 2019 to 13.6% at the end of 2020, with rates for black and Hispanic adults estimated to be more than twice as high as for white adults.

In his advisory, the Surgeon General called on Americans to fulfill the “moral obligation” to rebuild the country in a way that refocuses people’s identities and values, putting people first while strengthening ties. He described several ways that family members, educators, health professionals and others can do to support young people’s mental health.

These include recognizing that mental health is essential to overall health, supporting youth mental health in educational, community and child care settings, addressing economic and social barriers that contribute to poor mental health and to ensure that every child has access to quality, affordable and culturally appropriate mental health care.

For anyone wishing to manage their mental health and improve their quality of life, the NAMI recommends several stress management strategies.

Accept your needs

Recognize your triggers. What are the physically and mentally stressful situations? You can avoid them when reasonable and deal with them when you have to.

Manage your time

Prioritizing activities can allow you to be smart about how you spend your time. Establishing a schedule helps to avoid being overwhelmed with tasks and deadlines.

practice relaxation

Deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation are good ways to relax. Taking a break can have benefits beyond the immediate moment.

Daily exercise

Take a walk, ride a bike or join a dance class. Either way, it should be fun. Daily exercise produces anti-stress hormones and improves overall physical health.

Make time for yourself

Read, go to the movies, get a massage or play with your pet.

Eat well

Eating unprocessed foods, such as whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, helps build a healthy body and mind, and eating well can help stabilize your mood.

Get enough sleep

Symptoms of some mental health problems can be triggered by a lack of sleep.

Avoid alcohol and drugs

They make stress worse. If you suffer from drug addiction, educate yourself about its effects and seek help.

Talk to someone

Talk to your friends, family, counselor or support group. Telling others how you feel can help.

UTA Counseling and Psychology Services offers several resources for students seeking mental health help, including individual and group counseling, counseling and referral services, psychiatric services and events, and awareness programs.

To be eligible for CAPS services, students must live in Texas and pay medical services fees included in tuition for many courses. If eligibility requirements are met, students can schedule six free counseling sessions each semester. Subsequent tours are $10 each. Group counseling, events and awareness workshops are free and have no free session limit.

The CAPS Telehealth Guide and Privacy Policy are available on their website.

Stressors for students include pressures to maintain scholarship or program grades, meet family expectations, nurture relationships or even remain financially stable, especially in regards to the pandemic, Vickie said. Goins, associate director of CAPS Outreach Services and Mental Health Promotion.

Historically, people have viewed wellness as focusing on physical health, Goins said. People can be physically fit but be affected by their mental health, such as elite athletes who withdraw from competition for mental health reasons. Eventually, mental malaise takes its toll, just as physical illness can impact mental balance.

“Over the decades we’ve realized that we can’t separate our physical health from our mental well-being, they’re very intertwined and integrated,” she said.

@erickreports

news-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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