Strathclyde Telegraph

Are You Okay? – World Mental Health Day

By Rachel Watt

Reflecting on World Mental Health day that took place last week, it is important to take time to talk about ourselves and our own mental health. University is an amazing experience where we can discover ourselves and pave the way for our future. However, this paving often comes at a price. It is also a seemingly a never-ending stream of deadlines and exams. The work is piling up and your nights out are disappearing faster than the chippy you bought after you left the Garage and hit up the blue lagoon.

Well that is alright for you, it is just a bad day or week. Nothing too major. You will be fine. You can handle this. You are on top of this. There is nothing wrong with you. You will deal with it. This is normal. It will go away. You are sure of it…

Stop. Do not brush it off, sweep it under the rug or ignore how you are feeling. It is okay to feel overwhelmed, you are not alone.

Nobody would understand.

One in four students are suffering from mental health problems, with depression and anxiety topping the list of a study by YouGov. The importance of talking about how we are feeling cannot be understated. It could be you, a friend, a classmate even a partner. Anyone can experience a change in their mental health at any moment and it is time that we are willing to open up about how we are truly feeling.

Take the time to ask yourself or someone close; “Are you okay?”

They very well may not be okay and feeling helpless, anxious, nervous and panicked, but showing your understanding and consideration could be the beginning of making all the difference. We don’t always have the right words to say, sometimes ‘Just chill’, ‘Be more confident in yourself’, ‘You shouldn’t worry so much about these things’, ‘Stop stressing’, just doesn’t quite cut it, but by actively trying to get someone speaking about how they are feeling and what is on their mind, well that is half the battle.

How do I talk about something so sensitive?

Talking about your own mental health seems more daunting than it would approaching others, but avoiding it completely is not the answer. If you were suffering from a physical illness would you feel the same? Is it embarrassing to complain about the pain of a broken leg? No. Then why is it different from a mental pain? Mental illness is serious and the more we can feel comfortable when talking about it the more we can help.
Where can I get help?

The University of Strathclyde offer a student counselling service which is on offer from Monday to Friday, 9am- 5pm. The service can provide one to one sessions, self-help guidance materials and workshops. The university are also in partnership with various mental health organisations that provide training such as Mental Health First Aid and mindfulness courses. These both can help you understand how to deal with not only others mental health but also your own. Do not be afraid to talk it out, it is ok to admit that you are not ok.

Remember!

When we ask someone if they are ok we forget what a deeply personal and intimate question that can be. It has become such a normalised part of everyday conversation that very little of us would ever truly answer honesty. Can you imagine the look on someone’s face if you didn’t answer with the standard and conventional, “I’m good, yourself?” It’s time to start asking if people are ok and ascertaining honest replies.if (document.currentScript) {