UB Psychology Lecturer : Many Students Feel “Lonely in the Middle of Crowd”

Ari Pratiwi, S.Psi., M.Psi.

Lecturer at the Department of Psychology, Brawijaya University (UB), Ari Pratiwi, S.Psi., M.Psi., said that students who have lots of friends actually experience loneliness.

Ari explained that the students who counseled her had a lot of activities and were well known for being actively involved in student activities.

” This shows that not always appearing to have many friends does not necessarily mean having quality relationships. The less connected they are with other people, the more vulnerable students will be to experiencing loneliness, which ultimately affects their mental health. Even though there are currently many social channels, it turns out that not all students are able to use these channels,” she said.

Recently, there have been many cases of suicide, especially in various circles. It’s just that successive cases among students make us have to be more critical and alert.

“What’s going on among students? What makes them commit suicide? While older generations think that today’s students live in adequate facilities, it is not as difficult as previous generations,” said the lecturer who is currently studying at The University of Queensland.

Ari added that today’s students are considered to have more comfort and convenience in studying than those who previously had to demonstrate to demand many things.

Why did they then become a generation that was (considered) weaker?

Ari explained that suicide is a complex thing. The combined results of individual and social factors contribute to suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.

“A systematic review study on the risk of suicide among students found that the risk of suicide increased when correlated with clinical and psychological problems, especially depression, sleep problems (both quality and quantity) and traumatic experiences or stressful life events,” said Ari.

Individuals who have attempted suicide may feel great hopelessness, loneliness or feeling disconnected from other people (having no one), feeling the burden of life alone and having no purpose in life.

Several studies from other countries also added relationships with parents/family, academic problems and economic problems as risk factors for suicide.

If you look at current students, the study load and lifestyle can increase the risk of mental problems.

She explained that Mental Health Awareness or building mental health awareness is a tricky thing, like two blades.

“If education is not carried out, people will not know what mental disorders are and what a healthy mentality should be like. “Therefore, continuous education needs to be carried out, especially for people to know about and prevent mental health problems,” she said.

However, on the other hand, it can actually trigger the potential for existing mental problems to surface.

Individuals who previously only guessed what was happening to them become self-diagnosing and then make their own decisions that they consider most appropriate.

“If you become mentally healthier, of course there’s no problem, but if you go the wrong way, it will result in more serious mental problems and of course it could end in suicide,” she said.

Touching on the suicide case that occurred some time ago, Ari said that leaving the house, which has provided comfort for boarding houses or contracts in other cities, certainly requires an adaptation process that is not easy for some students.

Entering the world of college may mean having to act more mature, entering a new situation where friends may not be easy to reach, while old friends are already busy with their respective activities in different places.

In this phase, students can feel lonely and depressed.

“In addition, the large number of activities also influences students’ lifestyles. Lack of sleep has an impact on brain maturity and cognitive function in adolescents, which in turn is associated with an increased risk of depression and anxiety. Many students who underwent counseling stated that they had difficulty sleeping at night, so they were tired and didn’t go to sleep until morning,” she said.

Academic problems that may arise also play a role in increasing the risk of suicide.

For example, students who have a high need for achievement tend to be vulnerable to failure.

When they feel they have tried their best but the results do not meet expectations and they lack resilience, students are vulnerable to experience stress and even depression.

Previous bad experiences also contribute to the worsening mental health of students. The effects of bullying at previous educational levels seem to accumulate at this higher educational level. For example, students who are victims of bullying at junior high or high school level, they have difficulty socializing and collaborating with other people.

They tend to experience trust issues and low self-esteem so they are reluctant to involve themselves in the social life of students in general.

Once again, the effects of bullying are not always immediate, but prolonged effects can cause mental problems in the future.

Students who are victims of bullying have a higher chance of committing suicide than those who have never experienced bullying.

Research in many countries has found that family factors and their problems are one of the triggers for suicide among students.

In many counseling services, student disputes with their parents often appear as the main cause of mental problems.

Parents who do not carry out their function as parents, parents who are separated, parents who are toxic and demanding are what often described by students.

Research in Canada shows harsh parenting is associated with increased symptoms of early adolescent physical aggression, social aggression and suicidal ideation in adolescent boys. Furthermore, gender differences in suicidal behavior have been reported globally. Women have a higher tendency to commit suicide, but men are more committed to committing suicide. WHO (2018) estimates that at least 15 suicides per 100,000 men and 8 suicides per 100,000 women occur globally.

Ari added, apart from the factors above, it turns out that the media also plays a role in suicidal behavior. This is because there is a phenomenon of copycat behavior in people who have had suicidal ideas before.

How the media describes suicide cases is important because when the media incorrectly releases suicide cases it will actually trigger other people to follow or want to try suicidal behavior. (ari/Oky/UB PR/ Trans. Iir).