University Students in Turkey Suffered Depression Amid Pandemic, Study Finds

University students in Turkey have been suffering from depression and anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Istanbul’s Altınbaş University researchers.

Daily Sabah reports that researchers examined students’ mental health before the pandemic and after the virus hit Turkey and stressed that students might now need anti-depression treatment.

The research was conducted in two editions; the first one took place between December 2019 and March 2020; meanwhile, the second was carried out in April last year. One of the researchers, Nilay Aksoy, told Demirören News Agency (DHA) that researchers had monitored depression, anxiety, and insomnia among students during the two editions of the study.

According to findings, 5 percent of students participating in the study suffered from severe depression, with women students suffering from depression at higher levels compared to men. The first study edition pointed out that half of the students declared they have been using antidepressants for more than one year.

Meanwhile, the second edition of the study highlighted that the number of students who have been suffering from depression and anxiety increased to 25 percent, also with higher rates of depression noted among women students.

“It is safe to say that the lack of socialization and concerns about the future caused the pandemic to deeply affect the young people,” Aksoy added.

Data by the International Trade Administration have shown that there are 131 public and 78 private universities in Turkey as of December 2020, offering various academic programs, which enroll a total of 7.94 million students. Data from the same have also revealed that 4.54 million students enrolled in undergraduate and vocational programs during 2019, with 297,000 in graduate programs, and 101,240 in doctorate programs.

While students pay a small fee to study at public universities, they are charged a higher fee at private universities, ranging from $2,000 to $12,000 per year.

On the other hand, UNESCO reports that 47,546 students from Turkey pursue studies abroad.

According to a report by UNICEF and Gallup published recently, one in five people at the age of 15 and 24 globally, experience depression often. The “Global Student Survey” assembled by Chegg.org between October and November 2020, including 16,839 students aged 18-21, revealed that 56 percent of undergraduate students participating in the 21-country survey claimed that their mental health was impacted by the pandemic, with the number of affected students increasing in Western countries.

Findings have shown mental health issues have reduced in Italy (25 percent), Russia (29 percent), China (38 percent), South Korea (39 percent).

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