Maka Social is Your Ally in Promoting Positive Mental Health on Campus
Nearly every educator and administrator of a college or University has heard the phrase "mental health crisis" thrown about the halls in recent years. Anxiety and depression are growing rapidly on college campuses. A study published in 2018 showed that 42% of students had symptoms consistent with greater than moderate anxiety, and 25% had similar results for depression. This problem would tug at the heart of any compassionate leader who cared about the well being of their students, but it can also be quantified. Students with poor mental health are more likely to have poor academic performance and a greater chance of not finishing their degree.
Schools are well aware of the problem. In the United States, approximately seventy dollars of every student’s tuition goes toward the salaries and operations of mental health resources on campus, 60% of institutions admit they are failing to meet existing demand for care! 87% of campuses are reporting an increasing demand for mental resources which will only make things much worse or much more expensive in the near future. One of the most disheartening statistics of all is that 40% of schools have had to scale back their mental health awareness campaigns just to reduce demand for services to a level they could manage.
Maka Social can help alleviate anxiety and depression at its source, improving the lives and performance of college students while helping to reduce the financial burdens of campus mental health programs. One of the leading causes of both anxiety and depression among college students is loneliness. This relationship is a positive feedback loop as both disorders can make a person withdrawn and therefore lonelier. Some of the other causes are stress and weakened self esteem from failing to meet imposed or personal expectations. Strong Social ties and social identity can act as psychological buffers to both of these forces reducing their push towards mental illness. In short, a big answer to the “mental health crisis” is that students need quality friends!
Maka Social is the solution. For many students, going off to college is a wondrous opportunity for new connections, but it is also socially traumatizing. They are away from family for the first time, and friendships they’ve cultivated over many years have suddenly become distant. All the cliques and rivalries and even enemies they knew in high school have been stripped away and they are facing an uncertain and stressful future alone. They need to make friends quickly, a skill that is becoming more elusive for younger generations in the Western World. Schools try to compensate by hosting countless clubs and social events and that’s an excellent start, but it ignores a few basic truths. We don’t like talking to strangers for two reasons. We are afraid of rejection and we have no idea what to say. Those forced icebreaker activities at club events just seem so… forced. This is especially true for anyone who might already be depressed or anxious.
By designating areas like cafeterias, common halls, and courtyards as Maka Social zones, students can log into those zones alerting others they want to be approached, solving the first problem. A simple profile shows 10 of the student’s favorite topics of conversation meaning anyone approaching them will always know exactly what to say solving the second problem.