Public Health Campaign For Stress Management Of 1st Year Students

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1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background

The target population are 1st year students in Aimst university. 1st years are confronted with the change from their high school to college or university. As they make this transition to a different and less ventured environment, this can result in stress and have an effect on performance of academics [1]. College and university brings a whole new amount of course workload which require adapting to student life and social activities. As a result, stress can build- up. With finals nearing, the assignments and time constraints can be too much for the student. Prevalence of stress is especially high in 1st year students due to exams, continuous assessments, stress to keep up good grades and teaching techniques of the educators [2]. Ineffective time management, lack of sleep and exercise also contribute to the high prevalence of stress in 1st year students. Suitable coping methods and identification of stressors are important to overcome stress and have a balance in academics and leisure.

1.2 Problem Statement State

Stress is a natural reaction towards day to day pressing matters. Although at times it can be a positive force, pushing one to do better in certain things but it can turn out to be a negative force which may disrupt one’s everyday functioning. Stress has started to develop into a matter of significance and is no laughing matter. In a university, a student’s lack of awareness on their emotional reactions and perceptions towards a stressful situation, can affect their health both mentally and physically, disrupt their performance and affect relationships.

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1.3 Significance of the problem

In a survey conducted the Malaysian ministry of health, 1 in 10 students were stressed whereas 1 in 5 were depressed and 2 in 5 were depressed [3]. The prevalence of stress among undergraduate student in Malaysian universities is 37 % with 1st year students facing more stress than others [4]. In the United Kingdom, 35% of the 3604 students surveyed from different universities were stressed by their courses based on the Natwest Student Living Index 2019 [5]. In the United States, a survey revealed that 49%, 45%, 31% and 28% of students reached out for counselling due to depression, stress, family problems and academics respectively [6]. According to a survey carried out by Active Minds, 1 in 5 college students reported to worsen in mental health due to the coronavirus pandemic [7].

1.4 Theme

The theme for the stress management health campaign will be “Be Fine, Do Well”. This theme aims to express happiness, health and well- being. Students will “Be Fine” as they learn how to manage their stress as to not negatively impact them and “Do Well” when handling stressful events in day- to- day lives. Essentially, everyone wishes to “Be Fine” and “Do Well” to lead a fulfilling, not stressful life regardless of one’s age and this theme helps to embody that.

1.5 Public Health Campaign:

(i) Targeted population and Rationale of Campaign:

The target population for this public health campaign is 1st year students. 1st year students make their transition from high school to university and may face difficulty to adapt and adjust. Thus, these students require the necessary skills in stress management to lead a balanced student life and handle stress well. The time upcoming to finals and during finals week are when students face more stress. Exams and grades are the main causes of stress [8]. Overload from coursework, less exercise and long periods of examinations play a part in causing stress as well as anxiety surrounding exams [9]. Facing these can be overwhelming and stressful as it is the students first time. Students may start to face different forms stress like emotional stress, mental and physical stress and relationship stress. Emotional stress brings about fear, anxiety, anger and lack of self- esteem. Physical stress shows up as muscle tension or aches, headaches, an upset stomach or loss of appetite. Stress may cause relationships to suffer. Therefore, the stress management health campaign can help equip students with the required skills to deal with final exams and the period prior to that calmly with a clear and well mindset.

(ii) Feasibility and Key steps:

First and foremost, to ensure the smooth operation and running of the event, the following is needed:

  • Approval of event by the student affairs division and pharmacy faculty
  • Sponsorship and funds to purchase the materials and food and beverages for event day
  • Appointment of committee members and head of departments to carry out the specific tasks
  • Food and beverages for the duration of the event
  • Creating awareness of existence of event by promotion and advertisement
  • Venue to carry out event
  • A schedule and deadline for tasks the committee members need to carry out.
  • A plan of action to carry out tasks and necessary arrangements.

The above requirements are needed to make this event a reality.

1.6 Objectives

1.6.1 Primary Objective:

  • i. To create awareness about stress and its effects to students.
  • ii. To prevent stress from negatively affecting health and well- being of student

1.6.2 Secondary Objective:

  • i. To handle stressful situations/ events rationally and healthily.
  • ii. To indirectly improve self- esteem of student in stressful situations.

1.7 Strategies to Achieve Objective

  • i. Time management: To make sure students get the most of the day event and the campaign runs smoothly.
  • ii. Avoid procrastination: Preparing earlier and not at the last minute will aid in running the campaign smoothly. This will minimize any issues faced in preparation prior to campaign.
  • iii. Focus: Focus is important to overcome issues faced in campaign planning process and on the day of the campaign to prevent delays in the program to ensure have fun on the day.
  • iv. Having Milestones: Series of milestones will help the team to get things done and maintain motivation throughout the process of this campaign. Milestones will allow us to inspect our process if it needs to be improved.
  • v. Having a deadline: A deadline will allow the team to accomplish our objectives and make the event a reality within a preset schedule.

1.8 Time span of event:

This will be a half day event. The event will start from 8:45 a.m and end at 4.20 p.m. This period is sufficient to carry out all the activities planned for the day.

1.9 Expected Outcomes:

Students will gain knowledge on stress and the way it affects themselves and others. They will be educated on stress awareness and learn the beneficial and negative effects that stress brings. Most importantly, they will develop the skills needed to handle stressful situations including even people hard to deal with. Lastly, they will learn about taking care of their well- being and health to improve and aid their overall health.

2.0 Literature Review (refer appendix F)

According to Lazarus and Folkman, coping responses can be divided into emotion-focused and problem- focused [10]. The person facing a challenge will first decide whether the challenge is intimidating/ frightening or the opposite. Next, he or she makes certain of the resources available to deal and cope with the problem. Emotion- focused coping comes in if the individual believes they cannot cope with the problem. Problem- focused coping takes place if the individual has the capacity and means to cope with the challenge ahead.

Students in the 1st year seem to use problem- focused coping the most when compared to the other years [11]. A shift from emotion- focused coping to problem- focused coping is intended for student as they progress to further years. But decline in problem- focused coping may occur if students are faced with a challenge requiring them to transition from ways they are used to as seen in the study when 2nd year medical students are faced with clinical setting from classroom setting. The study concluded that involvement in 1st year students lives are needed as they decline in 2nd and 3rd years of medical school and this can be done by stress management programs.

In a survey done on undergraduates, male students mainly handled stress by and anxiety by exercise [12]. Meanwhile, female students handled stress by “laughing club”. In descending order, students overcame stress by “laughing club”, exercise, meditation and yoga.

Another study carried out on nursing students in Brazil showed that most students used escape to cope with stress as they were not involved in activities or did not have internet access [13]. Students who were happy with their courses utilized positive forms of coping whereas unhappy students resorted to negative forms of coping with stress. Students used both problem- focused and emotion- focused coping but students who chose to “escape” their stress end up using the latter. Stress management and resolution are inversely proportional to escape. Problem- focused coping proved to be better in dealing with stressful events. Another coping factor used by the nursing students are positive reappraisal whereby study accept the reality of the situation and look for the “bright side” of the stressful situation. Negative coping strategies utilized by students were denial, distancing and resignation from the problem causing stress. The study concluded that the most utilized coping method was escape (appendix F). Modifying their coping methods to better adjust to stressful situation would be a better affective management of the situation.

3.0 Program Details

  • i. Name of the event: Stress Management Public Health Campaign
  • ii. Date: 15th July 2020
  • iii. Venue: Orientation Hall, Aimst University.
  • iv. Organizers: Amaresha Kaur & TEAM FOP, AIMST UNIVERSITY

3.1 Campaign Milestones

WEEK 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Briefing from Campaign Advisor

Select Committees

  • Milestone 1 : Skills assessment report
  • Milestone 2: Preliminary interview report (potential participants)
  • Milestone 3 : Secondary Research Report
  • Milestone 4: Primary Research Plan
  • Milestone 5: Campaign Planning Report
  • Milestone 6: Campaign Tactics and Logistics Report
  • Milestone 7: Proposed Evaluation Plan
  • Milestone 8: Campaign proposal report
  • Milestone 9: Formal Presentation (15 June, 2020)
  • Milestone 10: Individual Log and Final Reflection

4.0 Conclusion

The public health campaign for stress management of 1st year students was organized by the FOP team. The team managed to achieve all the objectives and expected outcomes stated in the proposal above. Students gained much needed knowledge on stress management using simple but effective method to cope and de- stress and thus improving their well- being. The feedback received by the participants was much appreciated and mostly positive. Most students felt they learnt much from the campaign and will apply the information learnt to their everyday. The teamwork and effort poured into the process of this campaign by all the members to make it a reality is highly appreciated and gives assurance to the success of this campaign. Support received from the Faculty of Pharmacy and sponsors will aid in further achieving a successful campaign.


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