Remember the time when you were in high school or when you were new to your university? How competitive it was and how it was always a race to be the topper of the class? Remember the sword brandishing you a failure hanged above your head if you didn’t get into a reputable Science or Law college? That is how it was for most of us. We spent so much time worrying about our future that we didn’t pay attention the destruction we had caused in our present mental health.
Mental illnesses are rising among adolescents across the world. Among students in college, one in four students is said to have a diagnosable mental illness. Anxiety, depression and suicidal tendencies are the most common illnesses reported by students. Instead of rambling on about how education institutes need counseling cells, I would likely to focus on why, despite so many checks in place to assist students, we still hear about the rising frequency of suicides. In India, there are four major branches of colleges. These are Medical, Engineering, Law and Arts. I will go through the problems faced by students in each of these fields to try and explain to you what challenges we still face.
Mental Health In Medical Colleges.
Medical colleges are seen as a luxury and privilege in our society. It is the dream of almost every parent to see their child become a doctor. Every year the number of students appearing for the Undergraduate MBBS program touches about 1.3 million. From personal experience, medical colleges are curious and often highly hostile environments for some.
Despite having many counselors, psychiatrists and psychologists within the premises, I have seldom heard of them being helpful. The thing that worries some is that the person you approach in the Psych department is likely to be a senior under whom you will work in a few months time. It would be almost like sharing every personal detail of your life with your boss. It is something you would be apprehensive about. This is a problem I have heard about on various occasions. Students are afraid of reaching out to their seniors for fear of being judged.
Mental Health in Engineering and Law Colleges.
Engineering colleges have a sorry tale to tell when it comes to mental health. Every other week there is a report of a suicide. Sometimes it is the pressure of academics and sometimes it is the pressure of even getting into an engineering college. All of this, with no guarantee of a safe and secure future. Family pressure, academic pressure, peer pressure, personal issues and so much more is incorporated within the life of a student within 4 years. The pressure and disappointment of not getting into a top institute makes students over compensate in their efforts which eventually burns them out. Replace the word ‘engineering’ in this paragraph with “law” and you have the same situation. The expectations kept with a student are in no way proportionate or suitable for a stable mental health.
Mental Health in Arts Colleges.
Arts colleges are generally more relaxed than other colleges academically. The pressure here mostly stems from social desirability, peer pressure and social status. These may seem small or non-serious issues in comparison with other colleges but they have a somewhat equally devastating effect on mental health. Counselors are often unavailable and this leads people to close in within themselves.
Apart from these issues, there are various other issues which plague a college student. Some don’t like the college they are in, some don’t like their course. Unfortunately, leaving the college or course to pursue something else is not often encouraged and people are advised to toughen it out. We put so much pressure on ourselves to succeed that we forget that when we fail, it is not the end of the world. We can rise, we can get back up and we can achieve more. We can be the phoenix we think we are.
Rajeev was struggling to get better. His family was distressed. His physically handicapped mother felt helpless seeing her boy like this. Rumors had begun spreading in the community about his ills. An uncle of his told him to visit a temple and pray for his well being. Rajeev was skeptical about it but he was also desperate for help. Would it work? Could a divine intervention cure his ailment? Find out tomorrow on knightofsteel.com