This blog post is inspired by a lovely girl who, unfortunately, is not in the best of ways and has been suffering in silence for the past few weeks, and it made me realise how little help there often is when moving to university and your mental health. i’m here to try and help you out.
After suffering from depression through all of my teenage years and only being diagnosed aged 17, it highlights how often cases are overlooked. as i got older i learnt how to cope with my feelings and thus my depression lighted, that sn’t to say i am now magically cured – i still have my down periods just like everyone else does, but i feel 100 times better than i did at 14. for everyone, no matter how bad your mental health condition, there is help out there and you will get better.
After college, the help you may have received such as counselling or regular doctors appointments may stop, leaving a big gap between your life at home and your life at university. it can be difficult to restart to whole process of having to ask for help, (i know it took me a long time before i spoke out about it in high school) going through your whole story, signing up for doctors and other health care professionals, in honesty sometimes it feels like its better and easier to go on in silence than to have to readmit you have a serious issue.
universities in my opinion have some of the best mental health care in terms of contacts and counselling than any other organisations. make sure you use that. appointments can be booked with a counseller who will be at the university and able to help talk through your problems. i find talking is my kind of medication, even when ive thought of nothing else to say, it’s just good to sit there with another human and feel safe and secure, someone who actually cares.
this issue is when you’re at home, you’re at a place you know and with people you know and love. moving to uni rips you from that warm lovely place and plonks you in a new and very harsh environment, it can feel suffocating or it can feel desperate lonely. being away from those you love can only exasperate your problems.
This girl i’ve been speaking of, bless her, has been sitting in her room alone for the past week. sure she has friends but sometimes tucking yourself in your room feels like the best option. However, this really isn’t the best way for you to help yourself. Wallowing in your negative feelings is not healthy, nor is distancing yourself from those who care about it. If you’re feeling lonely, there is going to always be someone a phone call, skype, Facebook away, there will probably always be someone in your accommodation you can have a chat to and have a nice chill, so why make yourself feel worse bu being on your own. It may be the furthest wish at the time, but afterwards when you’re starting to feel better, you will realise how helpful that was.
If your condition is encroaching on your attendance or grades, then let your tutors know! Don’t be afraid to ask for extra help, extensions (within reason) on deadlines if you’re having a tough time, or if you can just have a chat. They’re busy people, but also understanding. They will have seen plenty of students in similar situations and you need to remember that they are there not only to teach but guide you into the beginnings of an independent adult life.
If grades and attendance are slipping and no reason is given, then Universities will assume you are not taking your degree seriously and ultimately could lead to you being booted off the course. Appropriate staff should and need to know so help can be given and allowances on deadline dates,grading etc. It will make you feel better and the staff being aware will allow them to help you. Remember they’re not there to be horrible.
I hope this helps anyone who is struggling with a mental health problem during Uni. If you want a more in-depth look at what to do if you have a pre-existing condition or develop one during University, go here: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/studenthealth/Pages/Mentalhealth.aspx
I am in no way a mental health professional nor does any of my advice come from a professional. Please seek medical help if you feel in any way affected by a mental health condition.