Mental health and well-being are leading areas of research in current societies as concern about the number of illnesses related to mental health and the effects of these illnesses are of growing popularity. In light of this recent interest, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) has been coordinating an awareness week since 1992 which focuses on alleviating the stigma associated with mental illness (Richard, 2010). Many other organizations are showing their support and creating awareness weeks of their own. A Canadian study states that “20% of Canadians will personally experience mental illness during their lifetime” and that everyone is, in one way or another, affected by mental illness (Health Canada, 2002). Mental health is considered to be of great importance during youth and adolescence which is why further studies on post-secondary aged students are crucial. The objective of this research is to identify what causes stress for students, what resources are made available to them through the institution, if those resources are widely used, and how students cope with stress. The information used as findings in this paper was gathered through conducting an interview with a post-secondary student who was taking a full course load, was involved in extra-curricular activities, and had a part-time job.
First, an analysis of current literature on achievement ideology, career aspirations, stressors, coping strategies, and social networks will be conducted to identify any gaps. Second, the findings from the interview will be discussed, analyzed, and applied to sociological theory. Third, a discussion of methodological strategy will be held to address the strengths and weaknesses of qualitative research methods. Before closing, there will be a brief discussion of future steps regarding the topic of mental health and wellness in current society.
There have been numerous studies developed and completed that strive to understand the causes of stress which may lead to mental illness. What has been shown, time and time again, is that women tend to report higher levels of psychological distress than do men. An explanation for this is that women, on average, display higher academic performance and the stress involved with high academic achievement increases their overall levels of stress above that of men (Dusselier, Dunn, Wang, Shelley & Whalen, 2005, p. 21). Another explanation is that women tend to suffer from what is known as “contagion of stress” meaning that due to their increased involvement in social networks and tendencies to provide support, women actually take on the anxiety of others which causes them to experience the stress involved with it (Kawachi & Berkman, 2001, pp. 461-462). As it may be a bit misleading, it is important to note that the findings state that women report more severe levels of distress than do men, not that they have more severe levels of stress. ...