STUDENTS need to be ‘extra vigilant’ about their mental health amid the pressures of college life, according a suicide and self-harm prevention centre.
Clinical Director for Children and Adolescents within Pieta House, Marguerite Kiely said that the “massive changes” that take place within the months of September and October can often leave students struggling to cope.
Ms Kiely told Campus.ie that the mental health organisation sees a significant increase in calls from college students between the ages of seventeen and nineteen around the month of October.
“It’s a big transitional period for students typically around seventeen years of age. They may have to move away from home for what could be their first time and this is a massive change,” she said.
“Even the practical things such as organising what buses they must get in to college and taking responsibility for their own time-keeping on a day to day basis can be challenging for some students,” she added.
Ms Kiely urged students to pay particular attention to any change in their mental health as a result of these adjustments, adding that they should seek support as soon as possible if they are concerned about their mental health in order to insure things don’t “build up”.
“Tiredness, anxiety about upcoming exams, failure to regularly attend lectures can all become very overwhelming and cause students to feel as though they are falling behind.
“These issues may be very normal but if they think they are the only ones experiencing these things, it can be hugely isolating,” Ms Kiely said.
However, Ms Kiely explained that there are several small steps that students can take that will help them to manage their increased anxiety around this time of year.
“They now have to begin to plan things a little more. It is also very important that students look after their physical health and get regular exercise, in addition to getting enough sleep.”
She also said students must avoid “taking long gaps without food because this will result in their sugar levels dropping.
“It would be hugely beneficial for students to even spend just five to ten minutes during the day standing outside on their own to take a breath of fresh air.”