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Most Common Mental Health Problems Faced by Students


Mental health problems can start in students at a very young age with subtle symptoms noticeable only on close observation. These mental health issues may manifest as students’ periodic outbursts, social struggles with peers, falling grades and may cause difficulty for students in playing, learning, speaking and in controlling emotions. What appears to be characteristics of passing moods initially may be symptomatic of bigger mental issues that become more evident in teenage.

Given that educators spend a lot of time with students, teaching and observing them in social and educational settings, they can provide invaluable help in identifying mental health issues in them at an earlier stage. Since these mental issues impede the students’ ability to thrive in school, at sports, at home, at work and in society at large, it is important to detect them as early as possible. Here are some of the most common mental health problems faced by students-

1. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)- The symptoms of ADHD include short attention spans, easy distraction, too much talking, constant interruptions and hyperactivity. This disorder may hamper learning in students and teacher’s ability to maintain discipline in the classroom. Medication can curb the symptoms of this disorder, however many a times, these symptoms many signify the existence of other mental health disorders such as bipolar.

2. Anxiety and Depression- Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health disorders in students. Students with anxiety may have low attendance, struggle to finish their work, show declining academic performance, fear new experiences, or worry excessively about assignments, homework and grades. There may also be a sharp fall in their interaction with their peers, teachers and motivation level. Loss of sleep, tardiness, lack of concentration and suicidal tendencies are also the symptoms of acute depression.

3. Autism Spectrum Disorder- Traits such as repetitive behaviour, inability to understand visuals and non-verbal language, social difficulty etc. are common in students with autism spectrum disorder. These symptoms may be present in students even in their primary classes and in mild to severe forms.

4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)- Students with PTSD may suffer from significant mood swings, may act younger than their age and become behaviourally unpredictable. This disorder is characterised by flashback to the traumatic event with physical and emotional consequences including tendency for self-harm, hostility, temper tantrums or fear. PTSD develops in students who have witnessed traumatic event or had a stressed childhood.

5. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)- OCD may lead students to have certain persistent thoughts and frequent behaviours that they repeat on without any control. Because of inappropriate thoughts in classroom, extreme compulsions and obsessions, OCD may result in distraction, lack of concentration, incomplete schoolwork and dropping grades, making it extremely difficult for students to perform.

6. Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)- ODD makes students hostile, angry and negative towards their peers as well as the teachers. They constantly blame others for mistakes and challenge the rules, hampering the decorum and learning environment of the classroom.

7. Conduct Disorder (CD)- Similar to ODD, students with CD challenge school rules, argue with students, bully them and pick up fights on petty issues. They hide their own self-esteem issues with toughness, are undisciplined, consistent liars and are frequently absent from the classroom.

If educators notice some signs of mental disorders in students, the best they can do is to refer those students to mental health assessments and work with administrators, family and healthcare professionals to aid the student. Like with many physical health problems, early detection and diagnosis of mental health issues is the most effective way to ensure that the students reach their full potential.

By Deeksha Shivhare
Sr. Executive DigiCom - Content
Redefine Marcom Pvt. Ltd.