Millennials are considered one of the most anxious generations: Student mental health services are increasingly necessary
This is often attributed to modern stresses such as social media, finance and an uncertain future. With research showing almost 90% of students experience stress, and 77% experiencing anxiety, Fresh Student Living delved into the causes for the recent rise in stress and anxiety among young people.
Causes of stress in young people
According to experts, the stress, and often depression, experienced by young adults lies mostly in uncertainty.
Today, millennials spend more time studying compared to previous generations, have more competition in their career, and find it more challenging to achieve job satisfaction.
While uncertainty over careers, relationships and social acceptance are common triggers for anxiety, just looking at the number of students experiencing mental health problems prove that there is a real issue.
Recent reports by YouthNet show that UK pupils are the least happy in the world, which means that feelings of anxiety and depression could begin as early as high school. More studies show that a third of young women and one in 10 young men suffer from panic attacks.
Stress associated with job hunting
Experts suggest that the current generation of university students experience greater pressure than previous ones due to increased study costs and a highly competitive job market. In 2017, YouGov revealed 81% of students feel pressure to find a job within six months of graduating.
The reasons students feel under pressure to get a job:
• Wanting to earn money or have disposable income (82%)
• Career aspirations (78%).
• The belief that job prospects are thin on the ground (45%)
• The desire to start paying back their student loan (23%)
• Providing financial support from their family (24%)
A minority of students also admit their reasons include expectations from their parents (27%) or their peers (13%).
The effects of social media
Social media use has also been linked with increased rates of depression and poor sleep. According to the Royal Society for Public Health, “social media may be fuelling a mental health crisis”. Instagram has been named the worst social media network for mental health and wellbeing. A recent survey of 1,500 teens and young adults across the UK surveyed, the consensus the photo-platform contributes to high levels of anxiety and depression, bullying, body image issues, and FOMO – the fear of missing out.
Research suggests young people who spend more than two hours per day on social media sites are more likely to report mental health issues, including symptoms of anxiety and depression psychological distress. One in five young people admit to waking up in the middle of the night to check messages on social media.
One in five young people admit to waking up in the middle of the night to check messages on social media.
Previous studies have also suggested that the more social media sites a young person uses, the more likely he or she is to report anxiety and depression.
Diane Gault, head of fundraising at YoungMinds, Fresh Student Living’s preferred charity states:
“Social media is one of the many pressures young people face today. Though it can have many benefits, helping young people to express themselves and offering them the opportunity to build communities that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to, it also puts pressure on them to establish a personal ‘brand’, to be constantly available, and to seek reassurance in the form of ‘likes’. We’re grateful for the generous fundraising from Fresh PG, which will help us continue our work fighting for young people’s mental health”.
Coping with Stress at University
Develop a study strategy that works
Developing a strict study method could eliminate the anxiety and stress associated with cramming the night before. Study smart; break down large projects into smaller tasks, set deadlines and keep track of your work.
Along with getting up and moving around regularly, doing mild exercise is a natural way to clear your head, reduce anxiety and release built-up stress and tension.
Feed the brain and body
Having a well-balanced diet is one of the best ways to feel good about yourself, and it’s beneficial to the brain as well as having a positive effect on your mood, and energy and concentration levels.
Focus on the present
Instead of rehashing mistakes and failures, focus on your goals are and how you are planning to achieve them.
It may be difficult in times of extreme anxiety or depression but thinking positively can help you clear your head. Try saying things like, ‘I will do my best’ to gain a clearer perspective on what’s important.
Talk to your friends and family members
Many students don’t realise their peers could be experiencing similar feelings. It may be daunting but don’t be afraid reach out to friends and family members who could act as valuable confidantes during difficult times.