Nairobi Parenting Clinic: THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE MENTAL HEALTH OF COL...:   Mental health issues are the leading hindrance to academic success. Mental illness can affect students’ motivation, concentration and so...



Mental health issues are the leading hindrance to academic success. Mental illness can affect students’ motivation, concentration and social interactions which are the crucial attributes for a student to succeed in college.  Hence this covid pandemic has brought into focus the mental health of various affected populations especially the college students.

Due to the long-lasting pandemic situation and strenuous measures such as lockdown and stay at home orders, the Covid 19 pandemic brings more of negative impacts on higher education students than the positives. This is because many feel increased stress levels , anxiety and depressive symptoms due to the  change in delivery and uncertainty of  college education, technological concerns of online courses, being away from home for those who were unable to travel home before the lockdown, social isolation which has limited interactions with fellow students especially for the extroverted students who love to interact with others , decreased family income and lastly future employment due to the uncertainty caused by the virus for example the work from home makes it very difficult for the students to find work opportunities for instance even internships  are hard to find since most companies are laying off their workers and remaining with as few workers as possible.

College students are increasingly recognized as vulnerable population, suffering from higher levels of anxiety, depression, substance abuse and Eating Disorders compared to the general population. College students are among the most strongly affected by Covid 19 because of uncertainty regarding their academic success and social life during college amongst other concerns. Even before the pandemic, students across the globe experienced increasing levels of anxiety, depressive moods, lack of self-esteem, psycho-somatic problems such as stress, substance abuse and suicidality. Therefore, students may need additional resources and services to deal with both physical and mental health repercussions.

The Covid 19 outbreak has contributed to the increased levels of stress, anxiety, depressive thoughts among the students entailing fear of infection, frustration, boredom, inadequate information, financial loss and stigma. Difficulty concentrating, disruptions in sleeping patterns, decreased social interactions due to social distancing and increased concerns on academic performance. Increased suicide rates basically due to poor mental health. Substance use disorders in many people who were abstinent before are expected to relapse during the covid 19 pandemic.

Therefore, in conclusion, the Covid- 19 outbreak has affected the mental health of many college students because of the rapid changes such as online classes that they are trying to adjust to and also the element of network issues and the cost of data. Some students especially those from dysfunctional families have a hard time staying at home because of what they go through for instance lack of support from their parent and/ guardians, emotional abuse which could result into suicidal thoughts, lack of self-esteem and so more much which affects the mental health of the students.

The fear of missing out is rampant among some students mostly those from rural settings because they do not have equal opportunity as those students in urban areas due to limited access to internet information and education as well. Hence all those result into high levels of anxiety, increased stress levels as the students are worried about their academic progress and futures careers as well since with the covid 19 pandemic, many people are being laid off and fears of some careers getting off the market especially due to the post- covid 19 effect

Substance abuse is also on the increase due to the boredom. This is because the students are not able to access all the outdoor activities hence resorting to abuse of substances just to get away from the present which in turn become addictive

The covid-19 has also resulted into increased cases of domestic violence among families and increased divorce rates as well. This also affects the students’ mental health because the aspect of parental separation is quite disturbing and a painful experience.

But again, looking on the positive side, quite a number of college students have managed to come out stronger since they had enough time for personal development and develop their talents as well as starting up businesses. That’s to say some students have been able to explore their creative self thus developing mentally.  This has enabled them to handle the world in whatever way it comes and learn the aspect of adjustability.

By Wamungu Bizimana Francois





The number of students with significant psychological problems is increasing especially over the last 1 year

College students worldwide are at a higher risk for mental health disorders because of the range of stressors they experience and the transition from being a high school student to being a college student. Overall, the students may suffer anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, psychosis, addictions, risk for suicide, use of prescription drugs, and other chronic psychiatric disorders.

Although college students share some similarities with other individuals in the general population, they have been found to be at a higher risk for negative mental health outcomes because they are exposed to two sources of transitional stressors: stress related to the transition from high school to college student status, and stress related to the transition from adolescence to adulthood. 

According to the World Health Organization [WHO] , over 450 million people live with a mental disorder. The WHO indicates that poor mental health is associated with certain determinants such as: rapid social change, stressful work conditions, gender discrimination, social exclusion, unhealthy lifestyle, risks of violence and physical ill-health, and human rights violations.

 Moreover, there is evidence that there are factors present within academic institutions that negatively influence the mental wellbeing of college students. For example, an increase in stressful events such as not passing an exam, or financial worries related to student loans, or finding a part-time job to help cover the costs of books or other course materials, and for first year students, moving into unknown environments may result in the development of psychiatric symptoms.

he first-year students are more vulnerable to increased levels of stress because they often have ineffective coping abilities and lack autonomy when compared to students in subsequent years of study. The stress and anxiety experienced by first-year students also appears to be influenced by the isolative nature of the university environment now that students have moved away from family and friends, and have to be self-sufficient and function independently. They may demonstrate an inability to adapt appropriately to the stress and anxieties related to school demands and expectations, and eventually develop mental health problems.

Considerable number of students use addictive behaviors to cope with stressors related to the academic environment, like alcohol consumption and tobacco to cope with salient stressors within their social and academic environment.

The time span allotted for sleeping is often very limited among first year university students, which in turn can negatively influence their mental health status and psychological well-being. The increasing levels of stress can lead to changes in sleep patterns among this population which may lead to increasing amounts of alcohol consumption within the student population. Furthermore, these students often use alcohol, along with stimulants and other non-prescription drugs to help improve fractured sleep patterns and fight feelings of fatigue in order to perform academically. Chronic poor quality and quantity of sleep lead to the development of mental health issues problems, including increased agitation, depressive symptoms, feelings of fatigue, as well as negatively affecting their ability to function academically and socially.

 The most Prevalent Mental Disorders among University Students include Anxiety, and Depression. Depression is the most diagnosed mental illness among university students.

In conclusion, continuing stressors have negative influence on both physical and mental health, which exhausts individuals’ energy and may lead to less functional productivity.

If you are concerned about a college student's mental health please reach us on 0714972228, 0738905182, 0202365638 or email us @

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