University stress can affect mental health

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Stress and Health



The university environment can sometimes cause stress especially to students who are not accustomed to the pressures that come with it. Stress is considered as a bad thing and a good thing at the same time. It can be considered good if it motivates a person to focus on a problem and eventually come up with solutions. On the other hand, stress is bad when the stress levels are unmanageable and end up creating more problems ancillary to the stress itself. This essay focuses on stress within learning institutions. The essay examines how stress at the university can affect mental health. It also gives possible solutions that can be relied on to combat the problem.

Causes and Effects of Stress

There are many reasons that potentially cause learners to fall into depression and stress within the university environment. One of the very first sources of anxiety and stress is the very fact of being a new student within the university setup (Adegoke, 2014). New students, who are far from home, always feel the pressure of being away from home. According to Kentish (2013), students who care for family members face psychological distress; those spending five or more hours suffer stress while those spending more than 10 hours are likely to suffer both stress and anxiety. Discrimination is a big challenge globally and especially so in universities, and can be a cause of stress to students (Akinsete, 2014).

Academic factors borne within the university environment are also potential causes for stress, anxiety and depression. The university environment presents a phenomenon referred to as culture shock where students can easily be disillusioned by the university experience Akinsete, 2014). There is also pressure to beat deadlines as well as handle the hectic academic workloads (Kentish, 2013). There is also pressure from parents and sponsors alike who are both interested in good performance (Akinsete, 2014).

The effects of being under university stress include stigma, identity orientation and even substance abuse in chronic situations. The pressure from stressful situations may leave students stigmatized (Akinsete). This is especially so where students are unwilling or unable to seek help when the need arises. Students will easily lose their self-esteem and may even lack confidence. In extreme situations, it is not uncommon to see stressed students venture into substance abuse and use of illegal drugs (Tartakovsky, 2015).

Universities are encouraged to inculcate good study habits in their students. It is also important that students seek social support to deal with stress (Tartakovsky, 2015). Universities should teach students about stress management techniques. It would also be helpful to engage in activities that students enjoy e.g. hobbies and sports which help take the mind away from stress.


This paper has tackled the issues related with how stress at the university can affect mental health. The paper has discussed on the social and academic factors that may potentially cause stress, anxiety and depression. It has also proposed solutions to these challenges. The university as an institution and the students at an individual level both have a role to play in combating stress and its potential negative effects.


Adegoke, Y. (2014). Student Life: dealing with depression at the university. The Telegraph (Published on 26 September 2014).

Akinsete, R. In Adegoke, Y. (2014). Student Life: dealing with depression at the university. The Telegraph (Published on 26 September 2014).

Kentish, S. (2013). Student wellbeing and Course experience survey 2013. University of Melbourne.

Tartakovsky, M. ( 2015). Depression and Anxiety Among College Students. Psych Central.