Mental Health at University - Hello Student

Mental Health at University

We all have mental health, just like we all have physical health. Just because you’ve not got any official diagnosis or disorders, it’s still important to look after yourself, just like it’s important to eat your vitamins even if you’re not ill. Although one of the most life changing wonderful experiences for so many, I think you’d be shocked to find anyone whose mental health hasn’t taken a little dip for parts of university. It’s completely normal- the university experience is a massive change all at once, from living independently, real financial responsibility, navigating new found friendships, not to mention the stress of the actual degree work without anyone really holding your hand through it.

By Katie Baker – 3rd Year English at The University of Exeter

It’s difficult, but it’s so important to make yourself and your mental health a priority. The best thing you can do is be prepared for it. First things first is your basic self care. I’m talking the really simple stuff that you think you wouldn’t have to tell anyone, but you’d be surprised how easily they can be neglected. Make sure to keep your fridge stocked with nutritious food, meal plan and prioritise hydration throughout your day. It’s also helpful to have some really low effort meals and snacks in the cupboard or freezer for when you’re really not feeling like cooking, you’ve run out of fresh ingredients or you’re about to order pizza that you can’t afford.

Get familiar with your university mental health service, should you ever need them, you know how to access them. Most university don’t just offer one on one therapy sessions either, if that’s not for you. Often there’s peer support groups, therapy groups or seminar like presentations on coping mechanisms that are a little less known about but can be so helpful.

It’s also so important to talk to people and build your support system for days you’re just feeling a bit rubbish. Whether it’s university friends, family, friends back home or personal tutors- there’s probably more options than you think. You don’t even have to get into the ins and outs of your mental health with them, a coffee date to get you out the house and distracted from your stresses, a friendly phone call and catch up, that can be all you really need to feel a bit more centred and ready to tackle the world.

Another good idea is to start a diary if talking to people is difficult and you don’t want to offload onto anyone or even just as a processing tool. Writing a stream of consciousness when you’re feeling a bit down or stressed or anything else can really help you figure out what you’re feeling and why, from there it’s so much easier to start looking at possible solutions or at least steps to help a little bit, broken down and a bit easier to handle.

All in all, you deserve to be happy and you deserve to have the best mental health you can so that you can make the most of the university experience. So, make mental health a priority and look out for yourself and others and you can’t go wrong. For further help or advice speak to Student Minds.

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