When a student Feels sad, loses interest in activities, faces low self-esteem, thinks of harming himself and committing suicide, he may not know that gradually he is sliding towards depression.
News abounds of students, at one time or the other, who had resorted to suicide as a solution to their challenges.
Academic challenges, mental crisis, stressful situation and pressure due to transition from home to colleges can be daunting.
When some students encounter a trying time like the situations mentioned above they cave in. They lack the coping skill to adjust to the reality on ground.
Daily Trust, a Nigerian tabloid one time reported that last year, 11 students took their lives by drinking snipers.
January this year, the Legend News reported that Olona Joseph Oluwapelumi, a 300 level Industrial Design student of Federal University of Technology, Akure, committed suicide by hanging because of lack of the financial wherewithal to pursue his education.
According to a publication by Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2004, the third leading cause of death among teenagers and young adults is suicide, even as nhs.uk study disclosed that 46 percent of children between ages of five to 16 in the UK are depressed while it also found that out of three college students, at least one suffers depression and anxiety.
It is not clear what causes depression, however it is a common mental illness that manifests as psychological, emotional and physical symptoms.
It can manifest as a mild illness to a more profound state of hopelessness that can lead to suicide.
Anxiety, a feeling of fear, worry and threat, which is the main symptom of several mental problems, remains an underlining trigger of depression.
When a student feels that a situation is impending to a level that he feels uncomfortable and threatened, he slides into depression.
For instance, a student who fails to prepare for an examination will be extremely anxious because he may not be able to answer exam questions set before him; as a result of which when he fails he sees himself as a mediocre who can not measure up to standard expected of him, or who cannot compete with his classmates.
‘’Depressed students place high expectations on themselves. They think that if they don’t succeed, they are incompetent and will not be able to do well in future.’’
These are some of the common causes:
. Mental health crisis
. Poor academic record
. Pressure as a result of transition from home to college
. Being jilted by boyfriend/ girlfriend
.Death of loved ones
. Financial constraints
The symptoms of depression can appear during adolescence and may include changes in sleep patterns, appetite and weight, withdrawal, lack of concentration, feeling sad, losing interest in activities, low self-esteem, thought of self harm or suicide, irritability and intolerance, feeling worry or anxious, and tendency to cry.
The social symptoms can come in form of decreased in performance at work or academic.
Depressed students place high expectations on themselves. They think that if they don’t succeed, they are incompetent and will not be able to do well in future.
A depressed person may lose hope once their loved one jilt him/her. They feel they can’t cope with academic, psychological and social pressure in the school. They think the way they view things is the reality.
Depressed students are often pushed by ‘should,’ ‘ought’ and ‘must.’ For instance, they feel: ‘I should be reckoned with,’ ‘I ought to be recognized,’ and that, ‘My view must count always.’ Hence, anything short of these expectations makes them depressed.
It’s been established by Cognitive Behavioural Therapists that depression is caused by negative or wrongful thoughts; however attempt should be made to challenge those thoughts otherwise known as cognitive error or distortion.
A depressed person needs to challenge negative thoughts like: ‘I can’t do well’. He should scrutinize and analyse the thought thus:
‘Do I have the evidence to prove this?
‘What will you say to a friend who finds himself in this thought?
‘Weigh both the advantages and disadvantages of the thought.
Often a depressed student has a negative view about himself, the world and future.
He must always fight low self-esteem. He should not be ashamed of himself. He must have self-respect for himself, and devise positive self talk such as: ‘I have what it takes to pass my exams and succeed.’ ‘I’m wonderfully made,’ ‘I will succeed and excel in my academic endeavour.’
He should seek out time to go to recreation center, play games and attend social events when he feels low.
You will do well when you get in touch with your college counsellor or psychotherapist who are trained to help you cope with any maladaptive behaviour.