Chaitali Botcha is a graduate of Texas A&M University and the Central Regional Lead Cengage Student Ambassador. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Medical Science at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.
Health is wealth. Ralph Waldo Emerson coined this term when he said, “the first wealth is health.” What does this mean and why is it so important to us?
Some of the greatest fitness coaches and most successful nutritionists often focus on the physical aspects of wellness―exercise and a good diet. While it is true that leading a healthy lifestyle releases good, mood-improving hormones in the body, mental health is far more complicated and not always so easy to fix.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
There is a reason why Mental Health Awareness Month is celebrated so diversely. No matter how in shape our bodies may be, our minds and consciousness influence our thoughts and actions. Mental health should be equally prioritized to physical health, if not more, because humans are easily controlled by emotions due to external stimuli.
There are various factors that can negatively affect mental health, whether that be losing a family member, being in a toxic relationship, or feeling exhausted due to work pressure. Unfortunately, events like these can influence us to make decisions without thinking them through, which can lead to dire consequences.
This is why it is so important to exercise good mental health practices, to ensure we are in a good headspace.
Support and resources for students
As a student, I am a very big advocate for therapy. I know that the term therapy is interpreted quite differently from person to person. In some cultures, it is even taboo or frowned upon to pursue. However, if everyone can come together and see it as a resource and as a safe place for expressing feelings to a trusted individual, I think we can really benefit from it. Sometimes all we need is for a person to hear us out and comfort us while still suggesting valid recommendations on how to proceed next.
I personally struggled with mental health my freshman year of college, due to separation anxiety and feeling alone in my challenges from rigorous classwork. Fortunately, I was quickly able to seek counseling services on my campus. It is every student’s right to learn about the mental health support services that they have on campus. Oftentimes students are unaware of readily available resources and miss out on huge opportunities. This is why I always recommend to professors that they read through the syllabi with their students and point out key resources. Highlighting these and reinforcing their office hours definitely helped me seek help.
College is a time when many students face unforeseen challenges, so it is helpful to have support and guidance. While I sought counseling, I know plenty of friends who received help from faculty and college staff. When I talk at panels, one piece of advice I always give professors is to constantly remind students that they are there for them. Sometimes a gentle reminder is all a student needs to decide to seek help.
Tips to help students with their mental health
It is so important for everyone to learn about mental health in college. A person who is in a good headspace will more likely lead a better lifestyle, especially in areas like relationships, academics, and career.
Here are some things I personally do to practice and maintain good mental health in college. I hope these can help other students, too.
Take breaks and pursue something enjoyable. Whether that be baking, listening to music, or even going for a walk, it is so important to give the brain some rest.
Speaking of rest, sleep plays a huge factor in making sure the mind is rejuvenated. Listening to mindful meditation, drinking herbal teas, or reading a book are just some ways to help relax and ease into sleep.
Our minds control our bodies and if our mental health is poor how can we expect to feel good or do good?
If a student seems troubled, stressed, overwhelmed with work, or shows signs of depression or anxiety please direct them to seek help. Help them understand that the campus resources provided to them are there to genuinely make a positive impact on their lives. And if a student is unsure of their campus resources, as a professor or faculty member, you can be available to guide them.
With that, I want to conclude with a mindful mantra that you can share with your students. It always reminds me that:
“IT’S NOT MY FAULT
I AM NOT A BURDEN
I AM NOT BROKEN
I AM WORTHY OF LOVE
I AM ENOUGH
I AM IMPORTANT
I AM STRONGER THAN MY FEARS
I WILL ALWAYS HAVE HOPE”
How do you approach the importance of mental health with your students? Learn more about the current state of mental health in college students and explore ways you can provide support. Get the “Navigating Mental Health Issues on Campus” eBook.