Being a student comes with a mixed bag of emotions. On the one hand, there’s the new found independence and freedom that comes with living as an adult for the first time, whilst on the other hand, the change can be overwhelming, especially with the stress of exams and managing your finances. Mental health issues shouldn’t be ignored and if your efforts to boost your mental health aren’t helping, it’s important that you speak to your doctor.
The UK’s student mental health crisis
Student mental health has become a growing concern amongst universities, and has been receiving a lot of media attention recently. Back in December, the National Union for Students (NUS) released survey results explaining that around 78% of students had experienced mental health issues in the last year, with more than half admitting that they had not sought help. Some have raised concerns about tuition fee debt, are worried about the future and are concerned that they don’t fit in with their peers. Whatever the underlying issue, it’s important to tackle this growing health concern.
Mental health boosters
Whilst there are no quick fixes for mental health, there are things that you can do to help ease your stresses, and you may find that there are solutions to your problems which you may not have thought of. Some things to consider include:
Talk to your lecturers or tutors
You may feel intimidated by your tutors, but they can offer you more support than you realise. If you’re struggling with the workload, they can offer you advice and even offer some assistance with extended deadlines, etc. Letting them know that you need some help will allow them to give it to you, and your fears and concerns will only grow if you keep them to yourself. If you’d rather speak to a mental health specialist, the University Mental Health Advisers Network Website could help you find someone to talk to who specialises in mental health in higher education settings.
Talk it through with your friends
Sometimes it may feel like you’re alone, but you’re not. Talking your problems through with your friends (who don’t necessarily have to be those at university with you) can help you to get some things off your chest, which can immediately help you feel better. They may be able to share similar experiences to you as well as offer solutions to any difficulties you may be facing.
Exercise can be a good stress reliever, helping you to work through any nervous energy you may be feeling, and help you take your mind off things. Exercises such as yoga can help to ease your stress and empty your mind, helping you to feel more relaxed and in control. Team sports are a way to meet new people, and can help to boost your confidence and self-esteem.
Get enough sleep
Whilst student life may seem like it’s all about partying and staying up until the early hours, it’s still important that you get some sleep. Getting 8 hours’ sleep is important to help you focus, but if your mental health concerns are keeping you up, you should try to tackle them to ensure that you can sleep well at night.
Even if you don’t suffer with mental issues yourself, being familiar with them and helping those around you could make a huge difference. If you’re at all concerned about your mental health, it’s important that you seek help. Your GP will be able to offer you advice, whilst the NHS also has a number of great resources for student mental health issues.