Mental Health and Students’ Social Lives

students sitting in a circle talkingImagine yourself back in the river (first blog). The violent and erratic stream continues to disrupt you. We looked at mental health and its effects on academics. This time we will look at mental health and its effects on one’s social life.

In university, we, as students try to balance their academic and social lives. For instance, I myself am in engineering, and by now it should be annoying hearing us agonize about our flooded course load. It becomes extremely difficult for me to find time for social engagements, and when I do find time for them, it becomes difficult for me to find time to focus on my classes.

On paper it may seem very easy however, when certain external or internal factors come into play, the balance is tipped. In this case a student’s mental well-being strongly dictates their social routine. When a student is not well mentally, they may not have the capacity to expend their energy in a social environment. In a social environment, you will need to interact with your peers and take part in activities with other people. The key common ground among the individuals at a social event is the energy levels. Focusing on and constantly combating mental health drains your energy levels. Speaking from personal experience, when I have to focus on not only on mental well-being, but also academics and social interactions, my energy levels can deplete.

With low energy levels, it is harder to attend to and reciprocate the same energy as others. When your mind is constantly on overdrive and your mental health weighs you down, it becomes troublesome and tiring to add another element for your mind to focus on. It is a tough task to balance your academic and social lives while maintaining and focusing on your mental health.

You should always focus on your mental well-being over chasing after your academic and social goals. It is important to remind yourself it is called a social gathering and not a social obligation. You are not obligated to attend any social event, nor are you obligated to stay at one. When you need to focus on yourself and your mind, it is completely fine to take the time for yourself to regain your energy.

*Just a reminder that everyone is different and going through different feelings. These steps are general steps everyone can take to improve their mental well-being. *

What Steps Can You Take to Look After Yourself?

However, when you are at a social gathering and feel like you are not in a good place mentally, there are a few options you could consider.

  1. First, excusing yourself and leaving early
  2. You can always step outside and gather your thoughts, listen to music, write something down quickly and step back in if you need
  3. Another option could be to step outside to get some fresh air and from there you could choose to go back inside after you feel better or head home
  4. Let a close friend know about your state and have them help you get back home safely.

There may be times when socializing may be a burden and exhausting however, it is a great way to release stress. And everyone has different ways of socializing. Experiment with how would like to socialize with others, especially the ones close to you. It is extremely hard but very important to feel comfortable with the ones closest to you and the ones who care about you. You are never alone in any journey you take. Reaching out and talking about one’s mental health is definitely the hardest part in the path of improvement; however, it is also the most important and bravest step. Keep in mind, the following resources are accessible by all students and are here to help students struggling with their mental well-being.

These UBC related resources include:

  1. UBC AMS Speakeasy
  2. UBC Wellness Centre
  3. UBC Counselling Services
  4. EmpowerMe

Bibliography

Pedrelli, Paola et al. “College Students: Mental Health Problems and Treatment Considerations.” Academic psychiatry : the journal of the American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training and the Association for Academic Psychiatry vol. 39,5 (2015): 503-11. doi:10.1007/s40596-014-0205-9

Hysenbegasi A, Hass SL, Rowland CR. “The Impact of Depression on The Academic Productivity of University Students”. J Ment Health Policy Econ. 2005;8(3):145–51.

 

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