Students choose to attend university for a number of reasons. Reasons may include, wanting to pursue a desired degree, discovering a potential career pathway, their parents went to University or simply seeking a new chapter in their life.
With that in mind, being at university presents students with many avenues of exciting and challenging experiences. As a result, the student experience in Higher Education varies from person to person.
For many students, University life is an exciting experience that leaves a positive mark on their lives cementing their sense of nostalgia towards their beloved home from home.
Contrarily, there are several pockets of students who don’t get the chance to receive these positive experiences at university. Whilst there are varied reasons for this, it is difficult to dismiss the influence of mental health factors.
What is Mental Health?
Mental Health is a common word that is frequently highlighted in society. Whilst we are seeing rapid changes through awareness campaigns, there is often a misconception when the term ‘’Mental Health’’ arises.
Everyone has a mental health just like we all have physical health. For instance, many people endeavour to look after their physical health by practicing positive behaviours.
These include healthy eating, regular exercising, good sleep, consuming alcohol in moderation and no smoking. As a result, people find themselves feeling their physical welling is in good shape further limiting themselves from attracting physical illness.
Practicing these positive behaviours to look after our physical health is no different for our mental health. Just like maintaining our physical health, looking after our mental health is just as important.
Our mental health consists of our ‘’emotional, psychological, and social-wellbeing’’. Ultimately, our mental health plays a crucial role in how we feel, how we act, and how we think. This coincides with other human functions, such as, how we cope with factors associated with stress, connecting with other people and our decision making.
When your mental health is under siege from unwanted internal or external influences, it can often cause disruption to our way of living. It can leave unwarranted impacts on your mood, behaviour, your university work, your social life and even your physical health.
Thankfully, there are a plethora of outlets, resources and campaigns out there to support and guide us should we need it. Waving the flag for students and Universities in the UK is the University Student Mental Health Day 2018.
University Mental Health Day 2018
Taking place on Thursday the 1st of March 2018, the University Mental Health Day is an important date for the calendars for everyone associated with Higher Education.
For many years, the University Mental Health Day campaign has made positive impacts on universities up and down the UK. Collectively operated by Student Minds and UMHAN, this national campaign places emphasis on promoting the concept of mental health to people in all working and studying capacities in Higher Education.
The campaign achieves this by conducting thorough research, supplying useful campaign materials, and offering guidance on how people can run events on their campus.
Over the years, this campaign has recognised the surge in mental health difficulties amongst students in Higher Education. After all, research from Student Minds revealed almost ‘’75% of all mental health difficulties’’ evolve by a person’s mid-twenties. Meaning, these difficulties coexist with the student population giving the age patterns.
It is important to mention that Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity. Their objective is to ‘’empower’’ both students and the wider university community to take measures in protecting their mental health. Additionally, their ambitions include encouraging people to assist others, as well as enabling people with the power to ‘’create change’’.
Contrastingly, The University Mental Health Advisers Network (UMHAN) is a national UK charity. These charity members commit themselves to offering support to students, who may experience mental health difficulties.
Looking After Yourself, And Others.
Campaigns like this are important to our society. It arms us with useful tools to continue chipping away at breaking down the stigma associated with mental health.
It also allows us the chance to understand and recognise the reality of mental health and how we can assist in making a change.
Remember, we all have mental health. As humans, we tend to think we are invincible but the truth is we all have our own vulnerabilities. Taking measures to look after yourself, and others is something we all should endeavour to do.
So, if all of a sudden you feel low, stressed, upset or someone you know is feeling this then here are a few things you can do:
Talk to Someone
It can be a daunting thing trying to unravel your feelings and putting them into words. However, talking about these feelings helps us in so many ways.
For instance, talking helps us to release the negative energy that is building up inside us. By talking and releasing that energy it will help to relieve you of the heavy burdens you are carrying.
It’s also important to talk to someone who you trust, like a friend, or family member, as they will get a better understanding of your situation. This will allow them to help you in whatever way they can.
Student Services Support
At University, you can be reassured knowing that there is professional help in the form of your universities student services.
The student services team are a group of people, who are trained in dealing with all matters associated with student mental health. Your university student services team are there to guide, support and assist you through any adversity you find yourself in.
Here, you have a choice of either seeking counselling with the student counsellors or you can choose to speak to any member who you think may be of assistance to you.
Your student union exists for a reason at University. Not only is it there to promote all social activity but it is there lend assistance to the student community. Whilst student union members are not professional qualified Councillors, they can assist by listening, as well as offering useful information to help you.
If you prefer to research external organisations offering help, or you simply wish to read more about the useful resources out there, then please visit the following: