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Aktualności | 23.10.2023

"Talk about yourself"

How do students of Wroclaw and Opole universities deal with their emotions, not necessarily the good ones? Specialists from the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical University of Wroclaw want to find out. As part of the "Talk About Yourself" campaign, they have prepared a survey, the results of which will allow them to develop the most effective methods of supporting young people in solving their problems. In addition, they will urge young people to use professional help.

First the coronavirus epidemic and now the war in Ukraine, which have brought uncertainty and instability. Times are also changing. We have more and more responsibilities and less and less satisfying social interaction and every day is a race that robs us of our strength and good energy.

- Life brings changes and problems that require people to adapt to new conditions and expectations. Undoubtedly, however, the number of very young people dealing with emotional disorders has been growing in recent years, and it seems that it is the epidemic and its consequences that have generated this disturbing upward trend, says Monika Szewczuk-Boguslawska, MD, from the UMW Department of Psychiatry.

More and more people are coming to the offices of psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists. It is impossible to point to a group that dominates, but among those who need support are undoubtedly students.

- As they enter the next stage of life, young people face tremendous changes and challenges. A new environment, a university with a different course of study than in high school. On top of this there is often a change of residence, so the range of emotions that accompany them is very large. Not everyone is able to cope with them," explains Professor Blazej Misiak, head of the UMW Department of Psychiatry.

When everyday life gets tough

When emotions are too many, and on top of that they are not positive, a person may seek solace in alcohol, psychoactive substances, casual sexual contact or self-harm. Wroclaw scientists are mainly concerned about the latter method of combating suffering, especially since it has not been studied by Polish psychiatric specialists so far.

- We are only aware of worldwide statistics, which show that 20-25 percent of people in the group between the ages of 18 and 35 have ever self-harmed, adds Professor Blazej Misiak. - With age, this percentage decreases, which means that the phenomenon is prevalent in adolescents and precisely among so-called young adults, who are 18-25 years old.

Self-harm, expertly known as non-suicidal damage, is one way of coping with bad emotions. Monika Szewczuk-Boguslawska, Ph.D., explains that people who commit acts of self-aggression, contrary to appearances, usually do not want to deprive themselves of life at all.

- They are unable to cope otherwise with the mental suffering they experience, and do not know or use other ways to cope with sadness, anger, bitterness or disappointment. They choose to mutilate their bodies to reduce unpleasant emotions and improve their well-being, he says. - According to one concept, the improvement in mood after cutting, burning or scratching the skin occurs, among other things, because after the tissue damage is done, there is a release of beta-endorphins, opioid neuropeptides that alter the emotional state and reduce unpleasant emotions. Sometimes, in people who have trouble talking about their emotions, self-injury is intended "only" to draw attention, to signal to those around them that someone has problems they can't cope with.

A survey that can help

A scientific research team from the UMW Department of Psychiatry, using a questionnaire, wants to study the scale of the phenomenon among Wroclaw and Opole students and find out what influences them to choose this dysfunctional way of fighting bad mental health.

- Our survey, developed on the basis of professional questionnaires, is designed to help answer questions about the mechanisms and determinants of performing acts of self-aggression. Among other things, we ask about interpersonal contacts, their quality and frequency, general well-being and perception of the world, feelings of anxiety, self-esteem, experiences and traumatic experiences, ways of coping with stress, and even the quality of sleep," Professor Blazej Misiak enumerates, adding that the results of the study are expected to answer very important questions: how to help young people and what to focus on during their treatment, and - thanks to planned scientific publications - to show other specialists the way how to effectively plan therapy for emotional disorders.

In addition, as part of the "Talk About Yourself" campaign, experts will encourage students not to be ashamed or afraid to ask for help when they feel life is overwhelming them. The Medical University of Wroclaw offers psychological support to its students throughout the year. Young people, if they feel the need, can make appointments with specialists, and additionally, as part of the "UMW - we eliminate barriers in minds, hearts and architecture" program, the university invites consultations for students and doctoral students with disabilities.

- Similar forms of assistance are organized by other universities, information is usually published on websites or newsletters. We want to remind students of this and ask them not to give up looking for solutions to problems under the guidance of specialists. We also invite them to the clinic, which is run by our clinic. We are here to help," says Prof. Blazej Misiak.

The action was held under the patronage of the College of Rectors of Universities of Wroclaw and Opole (KRUWiO) and the Wrocław Academic Centre (WCA).

Link to survey >>

Outpatient mental health clinic

Department of Psychiatry, Medical University of Wroclaw Wybrzeże Pasteura 10, 50-367 Wroclaw tel. 71/ 784 16 10email: kps@usk.wroc.pl


Autor: Monika Szymańska-Antosiak Data utworzenia: 23.10.2023 Autor edycji: Monika Szymańska-Antosiak Data edycji: 19.11.2023