Five Ways to Look After Your Mental Health While Studying
The 7th March 2019 is National University Mental Health Day. It’s a chance for students and staff to promote positive mental health, while studying at university. It’s also a great opportunity to highlight mental health issues that can arise for university students and signpost them to advice and services the university has available, as well as outside organisations.
University should be a fun and exciting time for students: making new friends, enjoying new experiences, and for many of you it will be your first time truly being independent. Although sometimes it can stop being fun, and the pressure to meet deadlines and pass assignments can be overwhelming. Many younger students leaving home for the first time may become homesick. Money issues can also cause stress and depression, as well as other mental health issues.
According to a survey undertaken by YouGov, one in four university students experience some form of mental health issue in the UK. Depression and anxiety are the highest mental health problems reported.
However, there is plenty of help available at university, and Wrexham Glyndŵr University offer a free counselling service. Your personal tutor is also there to help and listen when you need them.
Here are five ways you can look after your mental health while at university:
- Ask for help - Don’t suffer in silence. There are people who want to help you. Your personal tutor isn’t just there for academic reasons. They are there to support you in whichever way you need. They can give you information on help to access and if you need extensions on your coursework, they can facilitate this. They are very understanding. Also make use of the websites and helplines available.
- Set a routine – This will help your time management and efficiency. Setting wake/sleep times may be good for you. Create specific study times and make sure your goals are realistic. More importantly, remember to take regular breaks.
- Look after your body - Don’t drink too much caffeine, alcohol or energy drinks as they can increase anxiety. Eat a balanced diet and fit in some form of exercise to get your endorphins pumping.
- Take ‘me’ time - Rest and relaxation are really important to avoid burnout. Make sure that you are taking time to do the things you enjoy. Self-care is a necessity for good mental health.
- Sleep – You need sleep to recharge and repair your body. Lack of sleep will contribute heavily to anxiety and depression. Not everyone needs the same amount, but it needs to be good quality and ideally uninterrupted.
- Samaritans - 116 123 (UK)
- If you're experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, call SANEline on 0300 304 7000
- If you're under 25, call The Mix on 0808 808 4994
- If you're under 35 and struggling with suicidal feelings, or concerned about a young person who might be struggling, call Papyrus HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141
SANE Mental Health Charity
MIND Mental Health Charity
Student Minds Student Mental Health Charity
Students Against Depression (For info and advice)
Written by Natalie Roberts, a social care, self-help and personal development writer and a BSc in Mental Health and Wellbeing student at Wrexham Glyndŵr University.