• Denise Perini

Stats Breakdown Of UM Students' Substance Abuse - Numbers Shooting Up During COVID-19 😔

Troubling Times 😟

Students have always been prone to mental health issues. Emerging adulthood is a time when mental disorders start coming to light, as students undergo constant changes & heavy stress. This results in a higher risk of substance abuse, poor health behaviours, and lower academic achievement.

So, what happens to students when the world is suddenly hit with a stressful pandemic that strongly impacts everyday life? 🤔

Fear & Substance Abuse 🥃 😰

According to a recent study by the University of Malta, the fear of COVID-19 was linked to an overall increase in substance abuse, depression, and loneliness amongst students.

This fear was particularly prominent within females, as well as among individuals who identify as religious. These students were more likely to have a higher level of fear of the virus when compared to their male and non-religious peers.

However, those who identify as less religious were more prone to substance abuse, and reverted to binge drinking, despite their level of fear being lower.

Conducted by professors from the Faculty for Social Wellbeing, it was concluded through data collected from 777 online surveys, that there was a 40% rise in cigarette abuse, a 29.9% increase in the use of alcohol, and a 46.9% rise in the use of cannabis.

Nervousness, Exhaustion & Loneliness 🙁

The majority of students reported that their emotional wellbeing was heavily impacted.

The survey found a substantial increase in nervousness, exhaustion & loneliness. Almost three-quarters of the respondents reported feeling nervous, 64.9% said they felt exhausted & 61% said they were lonely.

In general, these emotions were felt more by female students rather than males, which may indicate that they were more worried about their careers & families and susceptible to vulnerable circumstances as a result of the coronavirus.

3 out of every 5 participants said that they have felt depressed during the pandemic. The students identifying as religious, also reported these feelings with an added increase in the feeling of anger.

Via Times of Malta

Addressing The Issues 📬

The researchers noted that UM students were negatively impacted by the pandemic and that student support services must be equipped & ready to deal with the consequences. They also, however, praised the student services for the way they adapted to the pandemic.

However, such a substantial rise in the use of substances is alarming and requires reflection.

The harmful effects of such abuse are detrimental to physical & psychological well-being. This can be addressed through the development of "a meaningful research agenda" and adequate funding to help aid students' wellbeing through constant monitoring & education.

FreeHour's 2 Cents 💰

From one student to another, if you are struggling at the moment, this research goes to show that you are not alone.

It's difficult enough being a student, but to be a student during a pandemic is exhausting. The fact that you've gotten this far already proves how strong & capable you are. Remember, there are always people you can reach out to, even virtually.

You can always contact:

  • Richmond Foundation on 1770

  • kellimni.com

  • Your local mental health clinic.

  • FreeHour 😇 We'd be happy to listen & help!

Just because no one can heal or do the inner work for you, doesn't mean you should or need to do it alone. So reach out, get help, or lend a helping hand if you can 💙

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