A study titled ‘Depression among Indian University students & its association with the perceived University academic environment, living arrangements and personal issues’ was carried out by Prof. Sibnath Deb, Shinto Thomas, Nigar Khawaja, Parveen R. Banu, P. Tirupati Rao and R. Vishnu Vardhan.
The study with its primary focus on ‘depression’ was published in the Asian Journal of Psychiatry, and it highlighted the following:
- About 37.7% students were suffering from moderate depression in the Indian Universities.
- 13.1% and 2.4% students suffer from severe and extremely severe depression respectively.
- Thirdly, interestingly, it was also reported that semester two students suffered from a higher level of depression in comparison to the semester three students.
- Students who had a positive view of the university’s environment (in terms of academics) and the living arrangements, showed a lower level of depression.
- Another interesting finding of the study revealed that students who studied subjects of the arts and humanities stream showed a higher level of depression as compared to those who studied management and science stream subjects.
- Students who are involved in physical exercises and those who shared their problems with others were found to be associated with better mental health.
To conduct the study, as many as 717 students were selected after a multistage cluster sampling method. The data was finally collected by a specifically structured questionnaire, the academic record as well as the standardized University Students Depression Inventory.
Reasons for depression:
- Most University students are in their critical transitory period wherein they are going from adolescence to adulthood, which can be the most stressful time in an individual's life.
- Maintaining good grades, adjusting with the peer group, planning the future, staying away from home while pursuing studies are challenges that lead to high anxiety levels in students which often leads to depression.
- The findings are an eye opener for the policy makers working in the field of education as it highlights that about 15.6% students are suffering from high levels of depression.
- Educational institutes should be instructed to arrange appropriate mental health services through trained psychologists and counsellors.
- A conceptual model can also be developed to address the challenges faced by students that could later be replicated across the country after making minor changes depending on the local situation.
Professor Deb, a key contributor to the study, revealed that he hopes that higher education officials will take appropriate measures after going through the findings of the study in depth. He added that in India, hardly any university has a system in place that works towards providing services to the students who find themselves in depressed situations. As they go unnoticed, they even think of attempting to commit suicide. He even said that this was maybe one of the first systematic studies in India with respect to depression.
With inputs from NDTV