One in four students at university suffer from mental health issues. For me, this means I am one of 40 students in my class of 160, suffering from mental health issues. This has posed a number of issues in the past as well as the present. Due to my lovely friend anxiety who sits on my shoulder criticizing my every move and depression that wraps itself around me, university is an ongoing struggle. The doctors say I’m nothing more than a normal student which poses the question, ‘who else deals with this and who can we go to about it?’
First of all, a strong support on the home front is important. Luckily for me, I have a strong network of friends, family and a very supportive girlfriend. But some students aren’t as lucky, especially those who aren’t studying at home and are dealing with their mental health problems alone in a new environment. Upon investigating I have found there are many services offered to students. There is a student counselling drop-in session offered free in the university. For some, this is ideal. Some people need nothing more than a stranger to talk to and a shoulder to cry on. Compared to counselling through the NHS, which can have a wait of 16 weeks, students living on campus don’t need to stray off to places they don’t know – a thought that could be too daunting for some and cause them to miss out on getting the help they need.
For many students struggling with mental health, this means struggling with the work load more than others. This is where the Disability Service comes in to help. Students may not think of themselves as disabled but this service supports students in terms of work load, deadlines and sitting exams. There is also the student nightline which is available 24/7 for anyone who needs an ear to listen. One thing students suffering from mental health issues must remember is that you are not alone, you are not the only person that feels this way, you are not being lazy and most importantly it is okay to not be okay. The support is there for you, for us.
By Chanice Young