Therapy and Anxiety Reduction

Sura Alzamani

George Mason University

PSYC 301

April 23, 2021

Abstract

 This paper aims to help the patient understand why they feel the way they do, what their triggers are, and how to change their reactions to them using therapeutic approaches. Peer support intervention is identified as central to this research. This intervention is used in most academic institutions where support is offered to participants who undergo similar situations and work on the prevailing situation. The planned programs aim to determine the students who would avail themselves of the peer support group. It also had a motive to assess how they viewed the process, whether they accepted the program, and its impact. It involved 65 students spread across eight universities in the United Kingdom. Females dominated the exercise. 34% completed the course, while at least 57% attended more than one session. Properly planned peer support groups marked a significant improvement in the student’s mental health wellbeing.

Key Words: Peer support, student mental health, anxiety, depression, therapy, students, parents

Introduction

Different therapies are being used to reduce the anxiety that has become the central problem of people. The research has determined that both developed and developing countries face these issues, becoming essential to solving them. One of the most important therapies used to reduce stress and anxiety is Cognitive behavioral therapy. The research claimed that the causes of anxiety are high in advanced nations contrasted to the third world countries because developed countries have to face more challenges both in the personal and professional life. Different therapies can be used for this purpose because the primary purpose of implementing this strategy is to gain a healthy society at a decrease rate. many factors play an essential role in the enhancement of the disease from which some of them include work stress, family pressure, facing big and problematic issue in family or job, consistent worrying about something, not having control on outcome or results of the situation, time of uncertainty, and not having enough time to perform different activities in the life, etc. (Brailovskaia, 2020).

These reasons are increasing the rate of stress and depression, increasing mental and physical illness chances due to all these problems. The research is being conducted to determine the methods that can reduce this issue because it has become a significant concern of people worldwide. It has been selected from the study that both mental and physical health is essential to living happy and satisfying life that is the primary concern of people in today’s era. Different therapies can be used, but the research claimed that various daily activities are also essential to get beneficial results in managing anxiety and treatments. Some techniques include taking a deep breath to reduce stress, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindful mediation. Ordinary people in their routine can also use these techniques to stay mentally and physically healthy, which showed that it could reduce anxiety in particular people who follow these guidelines. Moreover, therapies such as behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy are being used in medical institutes that can work best for the long-term problem of anxiety and mental trauma. These therapies are more effective than all others, therefore, are given more importance in the medical health institutes, and medical health professionals are using these therapies in vast amounts to manage and control mentally ill patients (Kulsoom, 2015)

Overview of Peer Support Intervention

Peer support refers to support offered to people experiencing the same difficulties and conforms to virtues of responsibility, mutual agreement, and respect. They are offered a channel to interact with one another, sharing their mental health difficulties (Byrom, 2018, p. 240). This creates a mutual benefit because it is done through group therapy. Therapy is a way of intending to treat a psychological disorder. There are many types of therapies, for example, definitive therapy, maintenance therapy, and abortive therapy. All are defined according to their effectiveness (Grose, 2018, p.1). Reduction anxiety involves ways of lowering stress hormones in the body. Therapy is well achieved through properly structured peer support groups. Depression has increased among university students, which is estimated at 30.6 percent. Requests for support from professionals’ by the students have grown. Seeking professional help has been hindered by the perception that the problem is not suitable for professional support, making them seek help from their peers when they experience mental health difficulties. Also, it makes peer support groups be of more importance in higher education levels. Due to increasing rates of depression, the need to have peer support groups that are formal became a necessity. Six structured sessions for depressed students were carried out across 8 UK Universities with 65 participants. This process is aimed at determining who attended the session. The procedure was made possible by student volunteers who publicized the groups. The second aim is to identify whether the program was acceptable to the students. According to Byrom (2018, p.241), measuring the program’s mental wellbeing changes and impacts.

Method

Participants

            The primary intervention method used is peer support. The process was applied in England and conducted across eight project sites. It included three Russell Group universities; Nottingham University, which is campus-based; Oxford University is collegiate and Southampton University, city-based. A variation of participants was recruited; ten parents and ten children with targeted anxiety disorders were studied to participate in the study in the first group, ten college students in the second group. Recruitment was carried out through intervention whereby sessions on peer support were conducted by volunteering students recruited and those trained by the mental health charity (The Volunteer Management Report 2017, p. 3). Students who had experienced depression were encouraged in the application, while the group leaders did not experience depression.

Materials

       Students mind provided resources on a template to assist publicized cost in every site done by student volunteers. Promotion information was provided through the website of students’ minds. Participants employed personal and identification codes to have their forms linked over sessions that were multiple (Clarke, 2017, p. 13).

Procedure

       In the event of evaluating the cost, all the students attending were welcome to participate.  Warwick-Edinburgh scale of Mental Well Being was used in the assessment. The scale was validated to work within a population of students. The measure is a nonchemical focus that is identified among respondents as meaningful and attractive. Nonchronical stress was considered fit to be used in support groups. As each session ended, participants verified whether they gained more confidence to talk about their mental health (Kalkbrenner, 2020, p. 246). The measure also identified whether the participants gained more mental health knowledge and checked whether they managed the mental health that each experienced. The step enquired how often the participants shared their mental health difficulties with their family members and friends. The measure identified how much they gained and utilized through their university experience. The experts used 5 points Likert scale to answer the question above.

First, participants were to provide data on demographics and were to answer in their own opinion whether they had experienced difficulty with their mental health currently. They were to answer the period they experienced the mental health difficulties and the type of difficulty experienced, e.g., eating disorder, anxiety, depression, etc. The participants were also to answer whether they sought professional support assessment. Those who attended to participate in the course evaluation and did not have the interest were allowed to remain to offer support to the peer group. The participants’ ID codes were used, which facilitated linking over multiple sessions; however, participation was voluntary, and anyone could withdraw at any time.

Results

It was predicted that the participants would be more women than men. Eight percent of students who took part in the course evaluation identified that they had currently experienced mental health difficulties. Experiences of anxiety or depression were reported by students who had experienced mental health problems. There were additional self-reported mental health issues by many students. Some had sought support from professionals among those that participated. Students who had sought support from professionals were 2.6 times than not X2(1) =12.94, p<0.001. Those students who sought GP support were 28 (43%), and 10 (15%) had psychological therapy referrals. Nineteen students (29%) had sought counseling services offered by the university without notifying their GP. Those who attended the support group had mental wellbeing of low level 18.65(SD= 2.43) was the average score on the SWEMWBs. The results were down compared to normative data on ages. For women, the average score concerning normative data was around 23.17(SD=3.86), while that of men was 23.57(SD=3.61). A mean score of the attending students confessed to sharing their mental health with their friends and family.

Discussion

Peer support groups will archive its aim as the estimated depression among university students was 30.6%. They intended to help students in solving mental health problems by social connection and loneliness reduction. They will achieve this as 57% of the participants attended at least two support groups. Those who completed the course were about 34%. The peer support group identified cognitive theory in evaluating mental health disorders among university students. This theory states that individuals’ behaviors result from mental activities (Maddah et al., 2020, p. 3). According to Byrom (2018, 240), peer support is an intervention aimed at providing and receiving help guided by the main principles of shared responsibility and respect. The approach perceives help-seeking as something that requires understanding one another’s problems as a mutual agreement of only what is essential.  But according to students, they believe their stress issues do not need highly qualified professionals and therefore turn to close friends for help. The idea is guided by the belief that even informal approaches are the same experiences to share issues of mutual benefit, thus connecting social and minimizing loneliness. When faced with any difficult times, students ignore seeking the help of peer support groups and instead tend to run first to their close friends or family, limiting the scope of this intervention method.

Moreover, therapies such as behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy are being used in medical institutes to work best for the long-term problem of anxiety and mental trauma (Kulsoom, 2015). These therapies are more effective than all others. Therefore, they are given more importance in the medical health institutes, and medical health professionals are using these therapies in vast amounts to manage and control mentally ill patients. Other intervention strategies deemed appropriate include; the scalable approach and single-session interventions that all have issues. Using scalable interventions, costs associated with both their applications and training required are relatively costly (Schleider,  & Weisz, 2016, p. 170). Single session intervention, on the other hand

Limitations

In using the peer support intervention, the intervention attracted more women than men. There was no report by a student who had experienced Obsessive-compulsive disorder among those who completed the course. This intervenes to be unsuitable in addressing individuals with Obsessive-compulsive disorder. The lack of a control group limited the evaluation itself; it is invalid to say that student improvement was observed in the study. There are various modification strategies intended to reduce stress and anxiety in youths. However, this research focused on peer support because it is relatively cheaper than other appropriate strategies like single-session interventions and scalable interventions. These two come with higher costs of training the medics involved, and the strategy’s charge is also high.

Besides, the decreased rate of appropriate and early help-seeking persists as the main limitation for efficient peer support provision. However, in the quest to apply the other interventions that can work effectively, issues surround them—various intervention strategies identified and deemed as appropriate include; the scalable approach, single-session interventions. Using scalable interventions, costs associated with both their applications and training required are relatively costly (Schleider, & Weisz, 2016, p. 170).

Recommendations

The evaluation should collect demographic data from the participants, for instance, ethnicity and disability. (Masinter, 2018, p. 3).  The assessment should offer shorter programs and avoid the long-term programs as there was low midpoint retention. The evaluation should also include the evaluation of programs on long-term impacts. They should consist of a waitlist condition, depressive mood measures, and a post-intervention evaluation point. Besides, there is a need to inject more money to use more appropriate interventions like scalable and single-session interventions. According to (Kulsoom 2015), there will be no bias on the gender of participants like the peer support intervention.

Conclusion

A review of peer support method for students had critical implications on the student invited to participate. The program helped students to gain confidence through sharing their mental health problems among themselves. The students gained leadership qualities through the program offered by being entrusted to run the peer support groups. Also, the program helped the students to acquire more knowledge on mental health. Despite the positive outcome, peer support intervention, the procedure identified various limitations. In using the peer support intervention, the intervention attracted more women than men. There was no report by a student who had experienced Obsessive-compulsive disorder among those who completed the course. The interventions are deemed to be unsuitable in addressing individuals with Obsessive-compulsive disorder. The lack of a control group limited the evaluation itself.  Because of these limitations, therapies such as behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy are increasingly being used in medical institutes because they can work best for the long-term problem of anxiety and mental trauma. These therapies are more effective than all others. Therefore, they are given more importance in the medical health institutes, and medical health professionals are using these therapies in vast amounts to manage and control mentally ill patients. Besides this, it is recommended that future evaluations should collect demographic data from the participants, for instance, ethnicity and disability, and should offer shorter programs and avoid the long-term programs as there was low midpoint retention. It should also include the assessment of programs on long-term impacts.

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