Winter Blues is Bringing International Students Down

Winter Blues is Bringing International Students Down

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Archive photo. Photo: Tindra Englund

Last week, Lundagård revealed that Student Health Centre (Studenthälsan) has faced difficulties in seeing to the needs of students. Ulrika Linse Strömland is a psychologist at Student Health Centre in Lund. She believes that the increased number of people reaching out is because of many different reasons.

Written by Tindra Englund. Translated by Rebecka McKinnon Forsell

– What many Swedish students give as a reason is the complexity of everyday life. On the one hand, it’s amazing that there are so many possibilities, but on the other hand it puts a lot of responsibility on the individual person since nothing is for certain, says Ulrika Linse Strömland.

According to her there was a more clear routine to follow earlier which led to a simpler everyday life.
– Today you compare yourself to not only the 25 others in your class but to people all over the world on social media, says Ulrika Linse Strömland.

Forced situation
At Student Health Centre the situation is forced according to her. There has been a pattern in earlier years, with highs and lows. But during the autumn of 2016 the level of people reaching out has been constantly high.
– The reasons for reaching out is the same as previous years, stress, performance anxiety, general anxiety, depression and procrastination. But we have also noticed bigger severity in the problems in general. Those reaching out are feeling worse and have lower ability than earlier, says Ulrika Linse Strömland.

If the education has less structure with fewer lectures and attendance it could be a contribuing factor to the students having a harder time planning their studies which leads to more stress, with more procrastination and worsened mental health.
– We have also noticed that often during periods of more self studies and less structure there is a pattern in that the students are feeling more unwell, says Ulrika Linse Strömland.

International students are more exposed
She has also noticed that the more exposed group are the international students.
– With the exception of the problems that the Swedish students are experiencing, the international students are affected by the adaption. An adaption both in cultural and social codes but also from the perspective of planning and education. If you have had some kind of trouble with stress, anxiety or depression earlier in your home country it can sometimes be worsened when you find yourself in a new environment without support from home, says Ulrika Linse Strömland.

Another contributing factor that the international students are mentioning is the darkness of the autumn and winter.
– Us Swedes are also affected by the darkness, but we know that it is getting lighter already in December and that after Christmas it will turn and slowly get lighter. Since we know that it will turn and the light will come back we lower our standards until then, says Ulrika Linse Strömland.

During autumn, Student Health Centre has together with external relations had a lecture in how you are affected by the lack of light and what you can do to not suffer from winter fatigue and depression, the so called ”winter blues”.

You can read about Ulrika Linse Strömland’s top 10 tips HERE.

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