So today is #UniMentalHealthDay
And like we did with eating disorders last week, we’re going to take some time to explore the theme – Using your voice.
Now, this is a theme I absolutely love.
Because I’m all about sharing my story to shape the future of mental health.
This is such an important thing to do. All awareness campaigns want people to speak out and draw attention to a certain group to bring about change. So with the theme this year, they’re hitting it head-on.
Because the thing is, we can all be mental health advocates. You don’t need to leave it down to those who have had personal experience. We can all raise awareness for the issues that matter.
So, why do we need to change?
Mental health in uni is on the rise. 94% of universities said in October 2018 that they were experiencing a rise in the use of counselling services. In 2015/16, 15,000 students in their first year said that they had a mental health problem, an approximate 12,000 rise in 10 years.
Student suicides are also on the rise. This article really shows the extent of this problem in the header image alone. I found that such a horrific picture to an even more horrific statistic: student suicides have increased by 79% from 2007 to 2015.
But things are slowly changing
A new government task-force was announced today to look at mental health in unis. They will look specifically about what is causing worsening mental health, and then they will be able to find some solutions, to give students a more positive experience.
This is a decisive move, showing the government is aware that this is a national issue, which requires intervention. Only time will tell whether they have been successful or not, but it’s definitely something we’ll come back to here on the site.
So where can you get help
If you need to talk to someone, look at your university’s counselling service and see what other social groups are around. Sometimes there may be peer support groups that are set up, so you know you’ve got friends that understand.
The charity Student Minds offers a range of support options as well if you need any help. The advice and support they offer
The NHS also has an information page about student mental health.
So share your story
Use your voice. If your struggling from mental health and you need support then tell someone. That can be a hard time, especially if you are new to uni and don’t know how people are going to react.
There are resources that can help you, there are people who can help you make that first step, but the earlier you do it, the earlier you’ll have that support network in place at uni. Then you won’t have to worry about it later.