Thursday the 10th of October was 2019’s World Mental Health Day. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and in fact, if untreated, many mental health issues can develop into physical health problems. Its okay NOT to be okay, and asking for help is not a weakness.
For an array of reasons, we as students, are particularly vulnerable to Mental Health Issues. In fact, thousands of students across the UK are affected by some kind of mental health issues whilst at University. The NHS have estimated that 25% of all students in the UK experience a mental health issue at some point during their degree.
- University is a big transition.
For most of us, university is a huge step into adulthood. We’ve spent the last 18 years being supported at home and at school, but all of a sudden, we’re standing independently on our own two feet. While some are more than ready for this, many students are overwhelmed by the experience, and suffer from home sickness. Moving into halls is a major transition for most of us.
- Financial strain
Also, for many students, this is the first time we have had full control over our own money. Budgeting our SASS payments into meals, books, rent and transport is a really stressful experience, especially when mixed in with the academic challenges of uni. Money management is a major contributor to the anxiety experienced by students.
- Social pressure.
‘Student life’ carries connotations of late nights, pub crawls, car park raves, flat parties etc. But in reality, student life looks different for everyone. Yes, some people do stay out till 4am in the morning, but others prefer settling into bed at 10pm. But this social pressure has a huge influence on the mental health of students, who feel like they NEED to live like a ‘student,’ and don’t want to be different.
- University workload.
Completing a degree is one of the most challenging things most of us will ever do. Juggling course work, reading lists and deadlines across different subjects can be really stressful at times. Studies performed by Save the Student have identified that over 71% of students find the workload at university has a huge impact on their mental health. As a ‘perfectionist’ myself, I amongst others, am guilty of putting so much pressure on myself to get the best grades I can. We put so much pressure on ourselves to maximise our chances of finding graduate employment, often at the expense of our mental health.
Mental illnesses come in all shapes and sizes and present themselves differently on all people, making it hard to identify when someone is struggling.
- Everyone experiences some form of nervousness at some time. But what differs with anxiety is the intensity of those feelings. Those with anxiety suffer with chest pains, shortness of breath, blurry vision and panic attacks. These symptoms can prevent us from living a normal life.
- Depression, not as simple as just ‘low mood’ but rather, a deepening sense of pessimism and negativity that effects your day to day life choices.
Who to contact?
At Dundee University, we are so lucky to have lots of different options and services that offer mental health support.
Night line is a 24-hour, student run, confidential phone service available for whenever you feel like you need someone to talk. For more information, follow this link:
The Disability Service at Dundee offers a Counselling Service for students suffering with mental health issues while at university:
NHS 24 is available 24/7 if you ever find yourself in a crisis and need immediate support:
Although it may not seem like it, your mental health is far more important than your success at university. Remember to take time to look after yourself. Also, remember that mental health comes in all different forms and shapes, and it’s impossible to judge what someone is going through by their outside appearance. We need to be kind towards each other, and understand that we all have our own issues.