Understanding Student Mental Health: Common Issues & When to see a Therapist.

Student Mental Health

Mental health awareness is an important issue for all educators, who are often the first line of defense for their students. Education professionals have recognized the impact that a student's mental health has on learning and achievement, and they realize that there's a great deal that can be done to help students with mental health issues.

Understanding Student Mental Health: Common Issues & Where to Get Help?

Many students feel fear when first recognizing a mental health issue within themselves, as they might not be able to figure out where it came from. Students who previously felt nervous during public speaking but suddenly experience overwhelming panic understandably struggle to figure out what changed. Factors such as significant life changes, politics, family, academic pressure, relationship issues, and money can all contribute to changes in mental health.

The Top Mental Health Challenges Facing Students


Depression is a mood disorder that involves persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities. People experiencing depressive episodes may also experience mood swings, sleep disturbances, appetite changes, and headaches and body pains that have no apparent physical cause.


Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. However, mounting, ongoing feelings of worry, tension, and panic can interfere with daily life. When your daily life is disrupted, anxiety crosses the line to become a medical condition.


Mental health professionals define suicidal ideations as a prevalent pattern of thinking about or planning one's own death by one's own hand. Generally, experts consider overwhelming or highly detailed suicidal thoughts a mental health crisis.

Remember: If you feel that someone's life is in danger, immediately call 911. It's important that anyone who may be suicidal receives the help they need as soon as possible. A majority of college students who take their lives have a diagnosable and treatable mental illness.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders cover a variety of conditions marked by major irregularities in individual eating habits and an intense preoccupation with one's body image or shape. Disorders can involve both food deprivation and binge eating, which may be followed by purging.


College students frequently use alcohol and recreational drugs, which can become problematic. Addiction describes a tangible pattern of physical and/or psychological dependence on one or more substances, including strong cravings and indulgence in substance abuse despite known risks and harms.


Self-injury occurs when an individual deliberately harms their body without the intent to die from suicide. It is a way for those who engage in this behavior to try and deal with overwhelming emotions. Mental health providers agree that incidents of self-injury have increased over the past several years, possibly due to a lack of coping mechanisms and the stressful situations young people face.


The transition from high school to college brings extra challenges for all students, especially for those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Distractions, academic expectations, and a new independence are more difficult to manage when learners have ADHD, which involves an inability to focus or control behavior outside of the normal range for a person’s age and development.

Sleep Issues

Sleep restores energy, fights physical and emotional illnesses, and strengthens memory. It is also necessary for normal motor and cognitive function. Unfortunately, college students often sleep less often than they need to. Lack of sleep can affect a student's health, mood, and safety.

Where to Get Help?

Talking to someone about your mental health struggles can be a scary prospect, but it's important to remember that help is always out there when you feel ready to talk. As daunting as it might seem, opening up is far better than suffering in silence.

Your first port of call might be a friend or family member who you trust. If you would rather speak to a professional, however, there are a whole range of different support services out there.

If you feel nervous about speaking with your therapist or licensed mental health providers face-to-face, then online therapy may be the best option for you. You may access online therapy platforms from the comfort and privacy of your own home. You don't need to waste any time getting to your appointment; you can connect with your licensed therapist right away (as long as you have an internet connection).
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