Advice & Hacks
Look After Your Mental Health At Uni With These Wellbeing Tips For Students
Universities are providing more support for students
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Uni life can get quite stressful – it’s crucial that students know where to go for support.
University is supposed to be a positive experience for everyone; it should be a place where every student can enjoy themselves, learn, nurture friendships and flourish as individuals.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone. For some, university is a lonely place, with exams, deadlines, not to mention financial concerns, causing high levels of anxiety.
Ruki Heritage, assistant director of student experience and head of student services at the University of Bedfordshire, explains that the first six weeks are usually the most difficult, but things get easier as you begin to settle down.
One way of preparing for the reality of university life is talking to people who have already been to university, so that you have a clearer idea of what to expect. Those who have already lived the uni experience could give you some perspective regarding managing money, essay deadlines and getting involved in societies.
“A lot of students come in [to the wellbeing service] with financial issues that cause distress, when a lot of it could be avoided by learning simple budgeting techniques,” says Heritage.
Another way of making the transition to uni an easy one is by visiting the campus with family or friends before the term commences – getting a feel for the place and making yourself familiar with where places like the local supermarkets and cafes are located will surely lift your spirits come term time.
Heritage explains that most universities use a buddying system where more senior students show new students around, accompany them to freshers’ events and answer any queries about university life.
Heritage stresses that being fully aware of what support is available, and how to access it, is extremely important. “It’s all about preparation – students shouldn’t wait until they get to that slump where they think: ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t know what to do.’ As soon as they notice signs, if they’re feeling anxious, they should seek help from fellow students, as well as from staff and parents.”
Most UK universities have a dedicated mental health and wellbeing service with a team of qualified councillors. Such services hold regular workshops and awareness campaigns designed to help students deal with emotional, financial or any other type of stress they could be facing.
Prior to starting uni, all students should be registered with a GP, who can refer a student to mental health therapy or prescribe medication. Anyone with a pre-existing mental health problem is advised to inform their university before they arrive, so that the necessary support can be provided.
In addition to mental health and wellbeing services, universities also offer course-related services to help students manage their deadlines, improve their presentation skills, and prepare for examinations.
University does not have to be about getting drunk every night, binging on junk food and not sleeping well. Self-care is important. Eat well. Sleep well. Stay active. And remember, help is always near.
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