About 80% of the country's university students are depressed about their future professions due to uncertainties created by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent study published by Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST).
University students are usually concerned about their careers but the pandemic worsened their mental state with intense stress, putting them at serious health risk, the study revealed.
One of the reasons behind this stress and depression is the insecurity of employment, the study found.
Female students were more prone to depression and stress than male students.
Three students of the Statistics Department of SUST- Upama Chowdhury, Md Ahsan Habib Shuvro and Syed Md Farhan- recently conducted the study led by Professor of Statistics Dr Md Jamal Uddin.
Conducted in 2020-21, the main purpose of the study was to examine the impacts of the pandemic on students.
The findings were recently published in an international journal PLOS One.
A total of 516 students from 62 universities across the country participated in the study. Of the participants, 73.6% were male and 26.4% were female.
Around 414 (80.2%) participants had mild to severe depression and 399 (77.3%) reported having low to moderately perceived stress.
Female students were 2.1 times more depressed and 3.6 times more stressed than their male counterparts.
Students, who think delaying graduation due to Covid-19 will reduce the chance of getting a job, were 1.72 times more depressed.
Respondents whose department offers any internship were 36% less depressed, while skilled students were 46% less stressed though it was not statistically significant.
In addition to future careers, fear of being infected with the coronavirus also contributed to the stress.
Among the students whose perception was that their future employment was uncertain due to the Covid-19 epidemic, their depression is comparatively much higher.
Research has shown that the likelihood of finding a suitable job was negatively related to the completion time of graduation.
Nowadays, most private companies prefer young people who are innovative and can adapt easily.
So, the delay in the graduation of the students was also delaying this opportunity which is putting them in more frustration and emotional stress.
The research study also recommended that various mental health programs should be arranged to get rid of the depression and mental stress of the students.
The educational institution, government, and policymakers should work together to solve the reasons for the mental stress or depression such as lacking skills or getting no internship offer.
Female graduates are more depressed than male graduates because in many cases they have a gap in communication with various types of people who are in the job fields and they have a lack of experience in the job field.
Those students who did only curriculum-based study had less knowledge about the job field which increased their mental stress and depression.
By providing internship opportunities, industrial tours and skill development courses to the students, this depression and mental stress can be reduced to a significant extent.
So, universities should arrange industrial tours, different skill development courses, internships etc. and give them a clear idea about their future careers.