The links between higher education and mental health

The education industry is one that focuses on assisting the student to broaden their intellectual and personal horizons, ultimately working to be able to reach and even excel at their utmost potential. And throughout the years, it has done that brilliantly for millions of avid learners and passionate individuals around the world. While access to education is no doubt a privilege and a blessing, it is important to acknowledge the pressures that come with education as well. In the pursuit of academic excellence, students often unfortunately push themselves to extremes, sometimes to the detriment of their own wellbeing. It goes without saying that the academic year is one that is stressful and full of anxieties and stressors that can manifest in surprising and toxic ways for some people. So, while it is important to acknowledge and appreciate the luxury of having access to education, it is also just as fundamentally important to realise the depths of education, and how to persevere when those depths begin to feel just a little too deep to tread water for too long. 

One key aspect of the balance that many students unfortunately forgot or place too low on their list of priorities, is their own mental health. The psychology behind mental health is something that sometimes makes people uncomfortable, but that does not take away from the fact that mental health has reached epidemic proportions, to the point that it is fundamentally, and without question, at toxic levels for millions of people not only currently going through the education system, but around the world in all sorts of different circumstances. As students, there is an incredible pressure placed on individuals’ shoulders to persevere and push through even the most challenging of assessment blocks and courses. That pressure can build and build until the student essentially mentally snaps under the weight of it all. And suddenly the very thing they feared (burning out during the most important time of the semester) is not just a distant possibility that creeps up on them, but a reality that sets itself firmly in place, difficult to manage and challenging to budge.

Of course, there are countless avenues out there that aim to provide students with assistances and solutions to the pressures that weigh heavily on them. From the personal support networks of family, friends, and close classmates, to the campus offerings of professional assistance and therapies, and even the independent companies offering professional assessment writing services to effectively help relieve the pressure of intense assessment blocks, there are assistance options out there. But ultimately, you control how you respond to your pressures in education, and you control how you move forward and move past them. Talk to your professors, talk to your loved ones, talk to a professional psychologist on or off campus. Find your footing by simply putting one step in front of the other. It is okay if you have to bow out of a class or two for the semester – you can retake that class. It is not the end of the world. Understandably, sometimes that realisation is the hardest part.

In fact, the mental health epidemic in schools around the world continues to worsen with every passing year. In the last five years consecutively, statistics show that students suffering with mental health struggles are being more open about it, but not necessarily dealing with it in healthier ways. The self-harm and suicide rates among students around the world are higher than ever, and harrowingly, they continue to climb. While positive action and reaction to mental health among students the world over (and in general, for that matter) has begun to shift to decidedly more positive grounds, there is still a long way to go. This is a fight that is nowhere near done, and the education industry must continue to take great strides in the right direction, to ultimately right the wrongs and right the ship. Everyone wants to succeed, but sometimes the best thing you can do to set yourself on your most successful trajectory, is to take a step back – even if you have ten assessments due in the next month. 

The global education industry is one of the most profoundly impactful industries in all the world. Throughout the years, this is an industry that has proven itself time and again to be entirely dedicated to assisting avid learners, passionate individuals, to reach their fullest and happiest potentials. For millions of graduates, the system has worked brilliantly (if not a little haphazardly), but for millions of others, education has presented itself with the promise of academic and personal success, under a tonne of immense pressures. It can be difficult to wade out from under all those pressures and maintain a healthy and positive approach to not only education, but one’s own mental health as well. Ultimately, while academic success is brilliant and wonderful, nothing should ever overpower and come before your own mental health and wellbeing. Your courses can be taken again, but your mental health is fragile and should always be treated with the utmost respect, as the highest priority. Nothing is worth the sacrifice of your own health – and that includes education.

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