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Mental health, university and how to identify stress


By Alisdair Valente

With university drawing to a close, students are now taking the time to unwind from the stress that the academic year has brought. 

It is time to keep mental health in check by looking for signs of high stress and anger.

“Universities, as most students know, tend to have assessment due all at the same time, and aren’t spaced out,” said fifth-year University of Queensland (UQ) student, Jayden Davidson.

Vice-President of the UQ Politics, Philosophy and Economics Society, Mr Davidson, says this semester of schooling was close to ‘hell on earth’ after describing balancing his role as vice-president and the four-to-five-week period of intense exams.

“I had to cut shifts at work, cancel social plans all the time, and kept thinking everything had to be done right now, so I was just freaking out,” said Mr Davidson.

“I just get short-tempered; I get really impatient and feel like I’ve got no time for anything that isn’t directly related to all the work I need to get done,” Mr Davidson said describing his behaviour during the university exam period.

Stress is a ‘physiological reaction’ that is a normal part of life, Psychologist, Ms Natascha Madden wrote in a Brisbane Counselling Centre blog post about signs of stress.

“Stress is different for each person… anxiety and irritability are reactions to stress that has the potential to continue, even though the stressor has passed,” wrote Ms Madden.

Study commitments, the pressure at work and ‘juggling too much’ are all examples of stressors that Ms Madden believes are important in identifying to manage effectively, or reduce stress levels.

“Exercise, make time for yourself to spend with family, friends and breathing exercises are important skills to better manage stress and anxiety,” Ms Madden said.

“You have to try and take things as they come, and ensure that whatever it is you’re doing is something that you can handle,” Mr Davidson said to help combat stress and anxiety.

“It sounds like a cliché, but self-care is important,” said Mr Davidson.

If you or anyone you know are displaying any signs of high stress, anger or anxiety, please visit or call Headspace or Beyond Blue to find out what you can do to help with your mental health.

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