Students are infamous for being lazy. The stereotypes of missing any morning classes, spending days in bed and even the lacking motivation to cook their own food are easy joke material. Yet while there are some home truths in these stereotypes, could they be warning signs for something more worrying than just simple laziness?
The fact is that many of the stereotypes, are also some of the biggest warning signs for mental health conditions. Especially depression and anxiety. According to the NHS persistent tiredness is one of the major symptoms of depression along with an inability or struggle to face daily routines, cook or even get out of bed. Studies have found that around 1 in 4 students admit to struggling with their mental health; that the nature of student life means that many of the warning signs went unnoticed or understood.
So why might students be suffering?
Student life within itself is tiring. But with what some in the media have refered to as a mental health epidemic, it cannot be denied that the causes to unrelenting laziness just might be more serious than a three-day hangover.
Starting university often comes with a handful of new challenges. It often means moving out of the family home which means facing managing your own lifestyles, routines and finances. All of which are recognised by the NHS for being contributors to failing mental health. Additionally, the academic pressure that is put on students is found to cause so much stress that a YouGov study found that 63% of students felt so stressed that they were having difficulties in completing day to day tasks.
Student life is completely overwhelming and exhausting. Many of the conditions create a perfect environment to struggle with your mental health. Students are young adults, commonly fresh out of school, that are suddenly expected to know how to function alone.
Student worries are commonly dismissed. They’re often represented as lazy and uncontrollable children that have no real worldly concerns. This dismissal of students is causing a worrying rate of desperate attempts to seek help. Peers struggle to understand why they never saw any signs, when the truth could be they were simple laughed off as something trivial.
Obviously not every student who sleeps through their 9 am or doesn’t do their washing up for a week is severely depressed. But that the stereotypical lazy student might just have some more worrying depth to the joke.
When to be concerned
The medium university student age happens to coincide with the age that mental health disorders develop or become present. It’s normal to feel tired and stress to some degree, but you should be concerned when you find that your laziness and tiredness is persistent. Or if your stress, day to day activities and general responsibilities are becoming too overwhelming.
For anyone struggling with mental health here are some helplines to seek advice:
Students Against Depression: https://www.studentsagainstdepression.org/
NHS list of helplines can be found at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/