Starting university is an exciting opportunity for many students, it is a way to build on your academic skills and discover yourself as an individual. Nevertheless, moving away from home can potentially cause detrimental effects to your mental health, therefore, it is essential that university students prioritise their wellbeing. Studies have shown that 1 in 5 university students would have experienced mental health problems throughout their education.
The current pandemic has led to changes in universities, from a social distanced campus to online/blending learning. These changes can affect students as there are limited social interactions, thus inviting feelings of loneliness, isolation, worry or anxiety.
If you are a student or know someone who is suffering, please read this blog as there are some helpful points to consider when tackling mental health.
The feeling of loneliness impacts over a quarter of university students (33%). Students who report feelings of being homesick, isolated or lonely are susceptible to experiencing mental health problems. These feelings can range from an individual moving away from home (different cities), difficulty in making friends, living alone or away from student accommodation. Regardless of the reason, loneliness is an important issue to tackle and should be handled with care.
Students can consider getting a part time job. This is useful as it will not only be beneficial to your CV, skill development and finance but it is a great way to meet new people and build long-term friendships. Additionally, it is helpful for students to find new hobbies and passions. This can be done by joining extracurricular activities or societies in your free time. Not only is this a confidence builder but it is a way of keeping active and productive throughout the day.
Next, whenever feeling down, do not forget to call or visit loved ones – ensure that you stay connected with them. Visiting family should not be a hassle, as there are many affordable alternatives to travel, for instance, Santander offers student travel cards which enable students to have a discounted train journey, apps such as UNiDAYS give discounted journeys with National Express – so be sure to use your benefits.
Finally, it is important to talk to someone. Although this may not be easy for some people, it is beneficial for understanding your feelings and learning how to deal with them. There are many available people to talk to at university. For instance, lecturers, personal tutors, seminar leaders, friends etc. Remember you are not alone, and many students will experience this. It is just a matter of understanding how we deal and maintain a healthy mindset. Your university, friends and family are all here to help. Similarly, it is advised for all university students to sign up to their local GP, so feel free to seek medical advice if you require it.
Anxiety is referred to as a feeling of being uneasy. It is commonly associated with feelings of fear and worry. It is stated that 1 in 3 university students will experience anxiety. Sleep deprivation, work stress and transitioning are examples of common causes of anxiety. Nevertheless, there are solutions that can aid this, for instance, exercise. Exercise is a perfect way to reduce stress levels alongside having a reduced caffeine intake and a balanced diet.
Overall, it is important to manage your mental health. There are various websites and helplines that can assist an individual and give them the support and care that they need.
Anxiety UK – Support for those diagnosed with anxiety.
Helpline: 03444 775 774
Text service: 07537 416 905
Mental Health Foundation – Support and info on mental health problems
No Panic – Support for those affected by panic attacks and OCD
General helpline: 0844 967 4848
Youth Helpline: 0330 606 1174
Papyrus – Young suicide prevention society
Helpline: 0800 068 4141
Samaritans – Support for those experiencing feelings of despair or depression.
Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)
YoungMinds – Information on child and adolescent mental health
Phone: Parent’s helpline – 0808 802 5544
Young adults: Text YM to 85258
Fresh Student Living. 2020. Feeling Lonely At Uni? You Are Not Alone! – Fresh Student Living. [online] Available at: <https://freshstudentliving.co.uk/2019/04/01/feeling-lonely-at-uni-you-are-not-alone/>.
– Jenise Chisholm