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Grades plummeting due to mental health issues

Falling behind on classwork is not unheard of for both college and university students.

Of late, students face a growing number of mental health struggles impacting how they perform in school.

Some people may label students falling behind in school lazy or even accuse them of coming up with excuses to avoid work. The students could be falling behind due to mental health struggles.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health cases have been on the rise within the last few years especially among young people. As a result, this has caused poor academic performance for students.

Students across the region have been left behind due to failure to handle the pressures of school. They have assignments and projects that are piling up and some are missing assignments or are not meeting deadlines. WHO has a lot of resources for students.

A 20-year-old student studying nursing at Ontario Tech University has a few things to say about how students’ grades are linked to mental health.

“I think in certain ways if you have a lack of energy specifically that can be something that I don’t want to do. I have no energy to do anything so that kinda makes them fall behind,” Annamaria Paris said.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada has done research on how students falling behind has been noted as lack of motivation along with lack of spirit.

The Durham District School Board (DDSB) is aware students do not grasp concepts quickly and keep up with the school work as they used to.

According to Paris, if you have anxiety, it is possible not to complete school tasks on time or at all as you are worried about the idea of the assignment that you never start it.

The trend of students falling behind is growing rapidly but nobody knows how to help or what action to take. Students aren’t reaching for help or they don’t know what resources are out there to help them. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, professors are at a loss as to what to do.

Paris says if students are not reaching out for help there is nothing professors can do.

“If a student comes up to a professor and says something like ‘I am struggling with my mental health’ or something has happened, they will be treated with empathy and for them to have a plan,” Paris says.

The Durham Region website has many resources and help for students who are struggling with mental health. If a professor notices a student who is usually on top of their work is falling behind, they can guide them by suggesting certain tools and resources.

Trinity Fernandes, a Durham College student in the policing program, has noticed a few changes with regards to how the college deals with mental health.

“At universities, teachers weren’t very open to [talk] mental health and in college they are. For teachers to be more open is to discuss those topics in class if they see a student who doesn’t usually struggle, maybe send them an email,” Ferdenes said.

There are many ways that students can practise self-care. The Canadian Mental Health Association has many tips and guides for students to help practise it themselves.

“One thing that people can do is stay off their phones for long periods. We rely on our phones. If we were to go off our phones and I don’t know whether to read a book or go outside for an hour, getting more sleep is another one,” said Fernedes.

The Wellness Coach at the Campus Health and Wellness Centre, Jamie Meldrum, has a good idea as to why students have been falling behind.

“When your mental health isn’t good, it is hard to prioritize other things in life. If you are really anxious or feeling depressed or overwhelmed, it can make it hard to strive in college, to get those grades that you want to get,” said Jamie Meldrum.