Looking After Your Mental Health at University

Many people don’t always necessarily give mental health the sort of support or the attention it deserves and as a result are thrown into a pit that it can be very difficult to emerge from. Many universities will do all they can but we know that these services are not always the best port of help for many people, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the best things that you can do to help yourself.

Look After Your Body:

One of the best places for you to start,is by taking care of your own body, especially when it comes down to looking after your mental health and your physical well-being. Cut down on stimulants like coffee, copious amounts or even small amounts of alcohol and on energy drinks too, as these substances in large quantities can increase your anxiety levels or can even cause other health problems. Additionally, try to fit in some exercise where you can as well. Even as little as half-an-hour running or walking per day can have a hugely positive impact on your mental wellbeing, as exercising releases ‘feel-good’ hormones (Or Endorphins) that can aid in lifting low moods. Also make sure that you eat healthy when you’re at university.

Make a List of People or Services that Can Help:

Most students think think that they are not prone to mental illness, and for many of them, they may be right. But they may also be very very wrong. Lots of students have their first experience of mental health issues as students, studies show that nearly 78 percent of students have experienced mental illness at some point during the previous year. Look up the number of your university health service, enrol at a local GP surgery on campus and also try to make sure that you have the numbers of services like Nightline or for the Samaritans. Universities also have very specialised counselling programmes, which can be a very good starting point, and if you’re really worried, you can also talk to your friends (See below) and your family about what they can do if you ever find yourself in a crisis. Draw up a plan in case of emergency and write down a list of people that you can contact if you ever find yourself in need of help.

Recoginse the Signs While You Still Can:

Learn what the signs and symptoms of any various mental health issues are and that will tell you that you are experiencing stress. These will be different for each individual student of course, but these often include:

  • Feeling anxious and/or worried, or miserable and lethargic, particularly if this is interfering with your sleep, or your social life.
  • Feeling irritable or even emotional about things that wouldn’t usually upset you.
  • Frequent memory issues.
  • Finding that you have either rapidly lost or rapidly gained weight because you have been either skipping certain meals or are comfort eating.
  • Turning to alcohol or other substances to help you to feel better or to aid you in your sleep.

If any of these habits sound familiar to you then it is really important that you do not ignore them in the hope that they will just go away. Have a think about what it is that you are doing to keep yourself well, and try to talk to someone about how you are feeling, whether that is a friend (See below), a personal tutor or perhaps even someone from your student union. There will always be various avenues available for you to explore if you are in need of some support, but in order to access this help you will need to let someone know that you are struggling. You’re won’t be on your own! Lots of High-School students also struggle, and they usually are worrying about how to deal with GCSE exam stress.

You’ve Got a Friend in Me:

It can be very easy to become isolated, especially if you are feeling unwell, or if you are caught up with looking after someone else who is experiencing various difficulties. Talking to someone that you trust, whether that be a family member, a friend or perhaps even a teacher or a tutor at college, they can all help you ‘share the load’. Continuing to take part in your favourite hobbies or your favourite pastimes with your friends, or by joining a local group can help you to not become or feel isolated, it can also be a very good way of finding new friends and by building up a social life.

Thanks for reading and good luck!

If you have any questions, please ask below!