A recently conducted survey in Delhi-NCR indicates that the mental health of the youth is under severe stress. Conducted by Cosmos Institute of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, the survey included students between the ages of 18-25 years. 64.6% students reported symptoms of depression and 51.6% reported symptoms of anxiety.
Though the Institute admitted that its’ sample size is small, 500 students, it also added that these students belong to 5 universities in Delhi-NCR. The study also says that 17.8 percent of the students had thoughts about suicide and self harm. Among the sample size, 12.8 percent of men and 22 percent of women had these thoughts. Women, according to the survey, were more prone to varying mental health issues than men, except in cases of substance abuse and addictions, where the numbers were equally split. Among the 20 percent of those abusing alcohol and tobacco, 53 percent were men and 47 percent were women.
Five percent of the students screened also reported symptoms of major psychotic disorders. Sleep disturbance was found among 34 percent of women and 15.7 percent of men. Sleep disturbance could be a symptom of “underlying psychiatric disorder, and may need further evaluation”. Students, without fully developed stress coping mechanisms, also reported relationship distress. 43.2 percent students had trouble coping with relationships with peers, friends, family, with 55 percent of them women. Though the survey team said that the students across class were found with mental health problems, whether at beginning stages or chronic, they refrained from going into their socio-economic factors.
The aim of this survey was to screen and identify common psychological health issues among college-going students. “In recent times, with rapid transition in the socio- cultural scenario, an upward trend has been seen in young individuals seeking help for depression and anxiety. Anxiety symptoms include feeling excessive uneasiness and apprehension about future events, feeling ‘on the edge’, and bodily symptoms like experiencing palpitations, trembling of hands, uneasiness while breathing, unpleasant sensation in the stomach, excessive sweating, etc. It is important to understand when these symptoms need medical attention and seek timely help from professionals,” said Dr Sunil Mittal, senior psychiatrist and chairperson of CIMBS. Noting that there has been an alarming rise in the number of suicides among students, Dr Shobhana Mittal, consultant psychiatrist at CIMBS, said that there is a paramount need to identify students with suicidal tendencies and offer timely help. “There is also an impending need to promote life skills among college students for coping with stressful life events and prevention of suicide,” Mittal said.