How to Prepare Your Mental Health for University
September is upon us, and the back to school stationery section has returned to your local supermarket. This is an exciting time for many of you, as you can return to university and embark on the best years of your life – or so they say. However, Covid-19 has had an enormous impact upon the country’s student population, with over 26% of students feeling lonely, compared to only 8% amongst the adult population.
So why is student mental health so poor, and why is there seemingly no one trying to support the students? Please keep reading to see how you can prepare for returning to university to make the most of your time there.
The pressures of student life
Going off to university is already a stressful experience; the pressure of making friends, navigating adult life and completing your degree whilst also living through the pandemic needs to be prepared for and discussed.
Although restrictions may seem to be easing, the anxieties of the student population are not. Around 63% of students indicated that their mental health had worsened since the Autumn 2020 term, with this statistic remaining stable into 2021. When University is expected to be the best years of a young person’s life, there is pressure to feel like you always need to have fun. However, the pressures of having fun can cause a breakdown in student well-being, as it is perceived that if you aren’t always having the best time of your life, you are failing.
The pressure to have fun can make University a daunting experience. This feeling is magnified by the pandemic, as students’ social lives are returning after a long period of isolation, resulting in many students feeling anxious about partaking in pre-covid activities. However, you are not alone and what’s essential is that anxiety is not a choice. It can be totally debilitating, especially as a young person just starting out in life.
Here are some steps you can take to help:
Walking and getting outside is an excellent way of relieving stress! Especially if you have moved to a new city, it may be beneficial to get to know your surroundings and feel a personal connection with your new home.
Reach out to friends and family
Mental health is no longer taboo amongst friends and family, and often, opening up to others forms a deeper friendship wherein they too may reach out to you. Knowing you are loved and supported is a massive help with adjusting to new environments. Try going for walks with friends or just calling someone in a time of need. You are not a burden, and you are loved.
Take advantage of university student well-being programs
Most universities have student well-being programmes in place as they recognise the struggle and stress of adjusting to university and being completely independent. Amidst the rise of the pandemic, student well-being is needed now more than ever. There are also many student-led services available, as your peers recognise the need for readily available support; whilst these are not professional services, it is a reassuring presence during your time at university.
Consulting a professional
Last year, the NHS referred 1.4 million people to therapy for depression and anxiety. This staggering statistic reveals how crucial professional therapy is during these challenging times. Consulting professional help is a great way to resolve your issues on a one to one basis and try to overcome your mental health issues.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. If you were physically sick, you would contact a doctor without hesitation, so why is it different for mental health and therapists. All mental health issues are valid; speaking to a therapist is not something to be ashamed of, and students need mental support now more than ever.
Please take a look at my website for more information. I provide a wide range of services, including therapy, young adult support, and online services, for those who are moving to university and want to continue sessions online. If you would like to hear more about how I can help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, and I’ll be there to listen.