Research has shown that one in four students suffer from mental health problems during their time at university. Academic pressures, changing relationships, homesickness and uncertainty about the future can all feed into significant psychological stress. Sound familiar? Make sure you’re not struggling on your own. Remember…
- Asking for help is not failing. Often, just acknowledging that you’re having problems is the hardest step. When everyone around you seems to have it together, it can be hard to admit you’re struggling. But they might be looking at you thinking the same thing! Needing help is not failure – it’s incredibly common, and nothing to be ashamed of.
- People can’t help if they don’t know. Your university, your friends, your family – they all want you to succeed. But they can’t help you if they don’t know something’s wrong. Talk to your tutors if you’re falling behind with work. Talk to your friends if you’re struggling to keep up with social commitments. Staying silent will only make things worse.
- Confidential support is available. Sometimes reaching out to the people you know feels impossible. Maybe you’re worried about their reactions, or how they’ll treat you in the future. Most universities have confidential counselling and advice services you can talk to instead – nothing you discuss (or even the fact you have visited them) will be shared with your academic department, your parents, or anyone else. Alternatively, you can contact an anonymous support service like Nightline.
- Understand what you’re going through. There are lots of websites that provide information, advice and resources that can help you better understand – and deal with – what you’re experiencing. Student Minds and Big White Wall are excellent starting points.
Ultimately, remember you’re not alone in this. University is meant to be an exciting time in your life, but everyone knows it also comes with many challenges and difficulties. Knowing when to ask for help might just be the most important thing you learn along the way.
In the meantime, if you’re really struggling and don’t know where to go for support, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org