The Effects Of Mental Health On The Educational Achievement Of Secondary School Students in Buea

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

 The Effects Of Mental Health On The Educational Achievement Of Secondary School Students in Buea

Department: Guidance & Counseling 
No of Pages: 76
Project Code: GC1
References: Yes
Cost: 5,000XAF Cameroonian
        : $15 for International students


This study titled, “The Effects of Mental Health on the Educational Achievement of Secondary School Students’ in the Buea Municipality”, had as a purpose to investigate the extent to which mental health affects educational achievement.

The study made use of a cross sectional survey research design and the main instrument used for data collection was a questionnaire. Three objectives and three research questions were coined to guide the study. These objectives were to; investigate the effect of anxiety and its influence on educational achievement, and identify the impact of depression and its influence on educational achievement and ascertain the effects of stress on the educational achievement, of secondary school students in the Buea Municipality.

The population used for this study was made up all students with mental health issues in the Buea municipality. The sampling techniques used were the purposive and convenience sampling techniques to select the students who constituted the sample population of 60 students. The questionnaire used had a reliability coefficient of 0.82 from Pearson’s correlations.

Data was analyzed descriptively using simple and relative frequencies and percentages and also inferentially using the Pearson’s Correlation. The results revealed that; there exists a strong inverse relationship   (r = - 0.621) between anxiety and students’ educational achievement implying that as anxiety increases, educational achievement tends to decrease, there exists a fairly strong inverse relationship (r = - 0.188) between depression and students’ educational achievement implying that as depression increases, educational achievement tends to decrease and a strong inverse relationship (r = - 0.656)  between stress and students’ educational achievement implying that as stress increases, educational achievement tends to decrease. It was concluded that there is an inverse relationship between mental health issues and educational achievement and some recommendations were made.



This chapter will discuss on the background of the study, the research problem, research objectives and research questions derived thereof and research hypothesis, the significance and justification of the study and operational definition of terms. 

Background to the Study

Anxiety, depression and stress are three of the most common mental health problems teens and young adults face and it’s beginning to take a serious toll in the classroom. Every year more cases of anxiety, depression and stress are reported in children and teens. 

1 in every 8 children has anxiety, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). Anxiety, depression and stress negatively influence academic progress and encourage under-achievement. Students with a high level of anxiety score lower on IQ and achievement tests than their peers who are free from such situations.

In recent years, depression, anxiety  and stress have afflicted college students at alarming rates. As noted in the latest Center for Collegiate Mental Health report, these issues are the top reasons that college students seek counseling.

Today, the entire world is witnessing stress and other mental issues and their consequences. According to Bernstein (2008), these negative emotional, cognitive, behavioral and physiological processes occur as a person tries to adjust to or deal with those inflicting on them.

This does not leave out the school milieu as students especially in secondary schools also experience these issues. With so many children and teens who have undiagnosed anxiety or depression, this can negatively impact their ability to learn and enjoy their time in school.

When students have anxiety and depression that goes unnoticed their mental health is at risk, which can lead to social and behavioral problems, poor performance and learning, neglected hygiene, poor self-care practices and low self-esteem.

Students who have these disorders are at risk of suffering from poor academic performance and resistance to anything school-related. This can include lack of engagement in the classroom, poor relationships with peers and teachers, and disinterest in pursuing passions and planning for the future. 

Their learning is also affected due to the fact that anxiety and depression can impact the working memory, which makes it challenging to retain new information and recall previously learned information.

In countries like Pakistan, an increase in number and severity of psychological problems among students has been reported with heads of counseling services considering this a major concern (Sahleem Bilal, Anwar and Rehman, 2013).

In developed countries like the US, mental health problems have been a major challenge for school counselors and their consequences in the school milieu have been widely mediatized (Liu and Lu 2018).

Mental health problems among college students might as well reduce their quality of life and subsequent academic dishonesty, alcohol and drug abuse. Children who suffer from mental health problems are known to develop relationship problems, emotional and physical health problems later in life (Bruffaerts Auerbach and Mortier, 2018), and have a low self-esteem (Sahleem, Bilal, Anwar and Rehman, 2013).

Mental health problems are known to significantly account for college drop out with affected children being twice more likely to be school drop outs than non-affected children. The grade point average for secondary school children is known to be lower for students who suffer from depression and suicidal ideations (Bruffaerts, Auerbach and Mortier, 2018).

Mental health problems among students have been a global concern with previous studies showing a higher level of anxiety and depression among university students than in the general population (January, 2018).

They have been studied more among university students, medical students and the general population (Sahleem, Bilal, Anwar and Rehman, 2013). Some authors suggest that the prevalence of mental health problems may be lesser among college students (Bruffaerts, Auerbach and Mortier, 2018).

Secondary school students are at a crucial developmental period of transition into adulthood. Students in colleges are faced with new experiences, relationships and living conditions capable of leading to stress and disruptions in their mental health (Liu and Lu 2018). 

The secondary school age is the period of vulnerability for mental health problems with many symptoms of psychiatric illness known to begin at this period (Liu, 2018).

Several factors are known to be associated with mental health problems among students. Depression and anxiety have been described previously among students who have increased academic pressure, demanding workloads, worry about their health, have financial challenges, or suffer abuse and mistreatment (January, 2018).

The degree of societal instability to which children are exposed is known to be a predictor of psychological health in adulthood (Erol, 2005). Faced with a constant threat of injury or death, people can develop mental health problems and typically present with anxiety or depression (Akhunzada, Khattak and Ashraf, 2015).

People who live in an area characterized by violence and traumatic events are at an increased risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder and somatic symptoms like hypertension, asthma and other physical illnesses.

The two major psychiatric diseases known to be associated with torture and psychological trauma are depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (Akhunzada, Khattak and Ashraf, 2015). 

For the past 3 years, most students in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon have witnessed and undergone some of these effects of violence. The effects have been evident on the academic performance of the students and traumatization as a result of violence in the ongoing socio-political crisis in Cameroon.

People affected by violence are also known to have a feeling of worthlessness and are constantly nervous with these feelings capable of persisting throughout their entire life. Children who experience the violence of war may even have difficulties coping with normal life (Akhunzada, Khattak and Ashraf, 2015).

According to World Health Organization (2014) mental health is viewed as “a state of well-being in which individuals realize their own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and able to make a contribution to community”. 

According to Schreiber (1951), mental health means the ability of an individual to pursue reasonable, purposeful goals; use his capacities and talents fruitfully.

As part of one’s overall health, mental and emotional health or wellbeing is a necessary condition to enable one to manage one’s life successfully. It gives him or her capacity to live life in fulfillment of what he or she wants to achieve in accordance to the available resources. 

This condition also provides an individual the capacity to be resilient to the stresses he meets and to respond to these challenges without having to compromise his well-being.

This also makes the students productive and fruitful for themselves and their community. Mental health is important as it affects everything one does how one sleeps, what one eats, the risk one will take and the types of things one does to relax and enjoy life.

Some of the criteria for good mental health are, Adequate feeling of security Adequate self-evaluation , Adequate spontaneity and emotionality ,Efficient contact with reality ,Adequate bodily desires and the ability to gratify them ,Adequate self-knowledge ,Integration and consistency of personality, Adequate life goals Ability to learn from experience ,Ability to satisfy the requirements of the group ,Adequate emancipation from the group or culture

 According to National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health, “every child and adolescent deserves to experience joy, have high self-esteem, have friends, acquire a sense of efficacy, and believe that he or she can succeed in life”. 10–20% of adolescents have a mental health problem of some type.

Manifestations such as attention deficits, cognitive disturbances, lack of motivation, and negative mood all adversely affect scholastic development. It is often unclear what factors associated with school affect children’s mental development and what preventive measures and interventions at school might be effective.

In the Cameroonian context, the prevalence of mental ill-health has been a major concern for all the educational stakeholders and particularly to the guidance and counselling service of the Ministries of Education. 

From the basic to the higher learning institutions, stress, depression and anxiety have been major mental health issues challenging the sound performance of most students/pupils with poor performance.

These issues are dominantly caused by discrimination, bullying, violence in all its forms and most often domestic, financial difficulties and socio-political crisis as is the case in the English speaking regions of Cameroon. 

In the North West and South West regions of Cameroon, students have over the past three years experienced traumatic situations that have either brought about; stress, depression or anxiety and hence putting a heavy pull down on their performance in schools.

Statement of the Problem

The mental state of most adolescents particularly those going to school is known to be an important determinant of educational development since mental health abnormalities have been established to pose fundamental challenges to adolescent development and advancement in all areas of life. 

Maintaining mental health may seem like an easy thing to do but many college students struggle to make that a top priority because of the amount of work they put in on a daily basis. They have a full course loads with homework, extracurricular activities, sports, house chores, add in family issues with that and 24hours is not enough time in a day.

The road to graduating and maintaining good grades and social activities is not easy for students, especially students just transitioning to college where just a few months ago they had to raise their hand to use the bathroom. It’s important to recognize, however, when these emotions begin to interfere with your ability to function in your day-to-day life.

Mental health is no joke and should be a regular occurring discussion in schools.  I have observed that most secondary school students are falling apart mentally because both at home and in schools no one probably  takes the time to have these much-needed talks with students so that they can be more aware of their own wellbeing by knowing how to get help and where from.

This study thus, investigates and identifies the effects and impact of anxiety, depression and stress on the educational achievement of secondary school students in the Buea municipality

Objectives of the Study

General Objective

The general objective of this study was to investigate the influence of mental health issues on the educational achievement of secondary school students in the Buea Municipality.

Specific Objectives of the Study

  1. To investigate the effects of anxiety and its influence on educational achievement of secondary school students in the Buea Municipality.
  2. To identify the impact of depression and its influence on educational achievement of secondary school students in the Buea Municipality.
  3. To ascertain the effects of stress on the educational achievement of secondary school students in the Buea Municipality.