The most remorseful problem with Pakistani society is that, here mental health issues are always taken as a state of complete madness and families do not even want to talk about such illnesses especially if they are related to any of their family member. This stereotypical Pakistani mentality impedes the care or treatment of psychiatric patients.
The case becomes worse If any young boy or girl is suffering from such disorders. The disturbed mental state upsets the academic and other performances of the growing youth.
Defining Mental Health:
Mental health is a vital feature of overall health. Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual behaves normally and realizes his or her own capabilities. A mentally stable person can face stresses of life in a positive manner.
Good mental health does not merely means absence of mental illness, rather, mental health refers to the signs of positive attitudes towards any undesirable situation.
Psychological Health of Pakistani Students:
During the last few decades, university and college concerns from Pakistan as well as all over the world have enlightened the need of counseling services to resolve psychological problems among the students.
The concepts of mental health can be defined differently according to the relative communities or societies. Globally, College students are struggling with multifaceted and chronic psychological problems. The common problems faced by young students are mood disturbances, destructive behaviors, eating disorders, addiction and other interpersonal problems. University students generally experience:
- Symptoms of depression
- Eating problems
- Suicidal desires
Mental health problems among the students have both short term and long term consequences. These all problems lead to various significant negative impacts on their academic performance and their general physical and mental growth.
Research Studies on Pakistani Student’s Mental Health:
The research findings suggest that 39% of the students are found with the symptoms of low mood, 36% with anxiety and 25% with depression, along with interpersonal and academic hindrances.
Another study revealed the patterns of mental health problems. 803 university students were involved in this research. The four different patterns of problems are very common among these students that are:
- Sense of being dysfunctional
- Loss of confidence
- Lack of self-regulation
Major Causes of Mental Disorders:
- Poor nutrition or irregular eating habits lead to mental health problems.
- Children and young people face a huge range of pressures, like exam stress or cyber-bullying.
- Class or status differences augment the mental anxieties.
- Low academic performance or comprehension generates psychological issues.
- Domestic or family problems develop many psychological or mental disturbances.
Due to social pressure and traditional concepts most students who have mental issues do not receive any therapeutic or counseling service. The demand of such services tends to increase in Pakistani institutes. Currently, the awareness about increasing psychological issues and associated negative consequences proportionally increases the demand for developing counseling services for Pakistani students.
Solution to the problem:
1. The prime step towards resolving the mental health issues is to regulate the diet pattern of the student. Food has a significant role in mental health. About two thirds of mentally healthy people eat fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and salad or fruit juice every day. In contrast, students with mental health problem consume fewer healthy foods and are relying on junk.
2. A balanced mood and feelings of wellbeing is directly proportional to the diet that includes balanced amounts of carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and water.
3. It is essential that we make mental health education compulsory right from schools. The therapy should start early like from primary school. Every child should learn to overcome the pain and fear. Children should build their resilience when they are very young. Both physical and mental wellbeing should be a central priority of the education system.
4. Government should take major steps to minimize psychological issues among students and for this training should be provided to all new and existing teachers to get equip with skills that help children build resilience and promote good mental health.
5. Schools should explore resources to teach about mental health in a variety of ways. Institutes should be given the freedom to choose the curriculum that meets the needs of their pupils.
6. Counseling centers should be set –up in every college or university that allow students to speak to a therapist about their psychological problems.
7. The awareness should be spread via media and different channels regarding mental health myths and facts and programs should be conducted for generating health seeking behavior in the public.
8. The therapy awareness or counseling should be done in a low cost so every student can get the benefit.
9. Stress and anxiety peer groups should be arranged in institutions that allow students to get together with their nobles and discuss their concerns. For example, institutes should made affiliate groups that provide peer suggestions for students confronting mental health challenges.
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Allama Iqbal Open University Aiou Islamabad