Yael Weinstein, psychologist and coordinator of the Mental Health Team of the Directorate of Student Health, offers her perspective on addressing this issue at our university.
Depression is a mood disorder that, according to the WHO, is characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were previously rewarding and pleasurable.
This condition, as well as related mental disorders, can have a profound impact on all aspects of life, particularly academic performance, productivity at work, family and social relationships, and the ability to participate in the community.
In this context, it asks us to ask ourselves: how much of an impact is this having on our university students in particular?
In a study published by the Millennium Institute for Research in Depression and Personality², it was shown that female students show more symptoms of depression, and the level of depression in students does not vary by institution, age, or socioeconomic level. Also, a study by Barrera and Vinetto shows that nationally and internationally university students have higher rates of depressive disorders than the general population.
The above allows us to ensure that our university students are a high-risk group and that is why, as a health department, we have to assume, enhance and innovate a greater commitment to the mental health of students. Are motivated to work hard. Proposal Mental health promotion, prevention and care activities of the University of Chile.
We are talking about a period of life that is characterized by a change in evolutionary stage, giving way to the so-called emerging adulthood, a period of important exploration for the formation of personal identity. The increase in academic demands and performance pressure compared to school level increases the need to change the social landscape and establish a group of peers that makes the university experience worthwhile. At the same time, we cannot ignore the reality of the country and the difficulty in being able to receive professional mental health care in a timely manner.
The good news is that the same MIDAP study showed that the higher students’ levels of psychological well-being, the lower their levels of depressive symptoms. It sets out guidelines for the University to address the mental health challenge. According to research published in the Chilean Medical Journal in 2019⁵, the most relevant factors for promoting well-being were autonomy, positive relationships with others, and life purpose. Understanding this, the biggest challenge we face is how to create educational spaces that correspond to the development of these points and that are reflected transversely within the learning process.
In this sense, community discussion on topics such as achieving a lifestyle that provides well-being in line with study and performance, promoting places to meet others, promoting social initiatives becomes extremely important. Student participation and study plans are updated to the present day, which contributes to generating meaning in future work.
I believe that our path must be committed to these axes of development, not only in the form of psychosocial support teams for students, but also in the form of psychosocial support teams that allow us to build an educational community that supports the entire university experience during its different phases. These emphasis should be printed. The well-being and health of students, and to contribute to a society that allows people to develop their full potential in a healthy way.
2.- Midap, Fondseat Regular 1150166
3.-Barrera-Herrera A, Vinet E. Cultural characteristics of emerging adulthood and the stage in Chilean university students. Ter Psychol 2017; 35(1):47-56.
4.-Arnett J.J. emerging adulthood. A theory of development from the late teens to the early twenties. Am Psychol 2000
5.- Medical Journal of. Chile Vol.147 No.5, Santiago May 2019.
Student Health Directorate
University of Chile