A quarter of us will have problems with our mental wellbeing at some point in time in our lives. Mental health is more common among students than the general population. If you feel you are experiencing any of these conditions or are concerned about your or a friend’s mental health, do not hesitate to contact your GP or the YSJ counselling services.
Depression in students
Depression is where you feel sad or low for weeks or months, to an extent that it can interfere with your life and studies. Symptoms can include loss of interest in life, feeling like you can’t enjoy anything, feeling tired, loss of appetite, finding it harder to make decisions, having problems getting to sleep then waking up too early and loss of interest in sex. There are many different types of help available for depression including self help, talking therapies and medication.
Feeling anxious is sometimes perfectly normal. However, people with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and often affect their daily life. Anxiety is defined by the following symptoms; increase in heart rate, sweating, sense of dread, shortness of breath, dizziness, insomnia. Anxiety can be a difficult cycle to break so it is important to seek help early if you are concerned you are experiencing the symptoms. Similar to depression, there is a variety of help available.
Bipolar disorder in students
Bipolar is a condition that affects your mood and can make it swing from one extreme to the other. If you have bipolar disorder you will have periods, or ‘episodes’, of depression and mania lasting several weeks or more.
Eating Disorders in students
Anorexia and bulimia are the main eating disorders that affect students, and are both more common in women. Anorexia involves severe, sometimes life threatening weight loss. Bulimia is more common and involves bingeing (eating lots of food) and then vomiting or purging on laxatives. Eating disorders can lead to a lot of complications such as intestinal problems, brittle bones, hair loss and heart disease. It is important to seek help as soon as possible, as recovery can take some time.
Schizophrenia in students
Schizophrenia affects around one person in 100 and is equally common in men and women. The symptoms may include hallucinations (especially hearing voices), paranoid delusions (false beliefs), difficulty concentrating and difficulty finding the motivation to do simple things.
- Talk to someone you trust such as a friend, member of your family, or if it is affecting your work, your tutor.
- Visit the university’s counselling services
- See your GP (they may refer you to NHS counselling, or prescribe medication). It is important to see your GP for persistent or serious mental health conditions.
There is more information on mental health available here.
Mental Health - Healthtalkonline
Healthtalkonline, an award-winning charity website, lets you share in other people's experiences of health and illness.
An information sheet helping to understand more about the causes, treatment and understanding of Depression.
Founded in 1949, the Mental Health Foundation is a leading UK charity that provides information, carries out research, campaigns and works to improve services for anyone affected by mental health problems, whatever their age and wherever they live.
These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Coping with Stress
University can be a very stressful time. Between lectures and seminars, you have to multi task deadlines, socialising, clubs or sports and sometimes part time work; all whilst everyone else is expecting you to have the best time of your life. Immense pressure is on students not just to fulfil grade expectations. Being away from home for the first time can be difficult. If you feel stressed, it is best to talk to someone whether it be friends, family member, GP or counsellor and address what is making you feel this way.
Please feel free to come and see us if you are stressed. We would rather see you early, than wait till the exams, assignments and dissertations are upon you. Relevant leaflets are available in the surgery, or you can make an appointment with a member of our clinical team.
You can also contact the University’s Counselling and Wellbeing Service.
Self Help Stress tips
- Assess exactly what is making you anxious. For example, is it exams or money or relationship problems? See if you can change your circumstances to ease the pressure you’re under.
- Try to have a healthier lifestyle. University is not exactly known for healthy living, but it is surprising what a little difference to your lifestyle can improve. Eat well, get enough sleep and exercise regularly. There are many sports and societies you can join or gym classes you can take part in at cheap prices. Moderate your alcohol intake and spend time socialising as well as working.
- Try not to worry about the future or compare yourself with others.
- Learn to relax. If you have a panic attack, or are in a stressful situation, try to focus or something outside yourself, such as watching the TV or talking to someone.
- Relaxation and breathing exercises can also help relieve stress and anxiety.
- Talk to a friend, tutor or someone in your family.
More information on stress and some useful self help tips are available here.