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Uni Mental Health Day: ‘I forgot it’s OK to take time for myself’

Uni can be an exciting, and stressful, time. We asked our young people’s network what they wish they knew about mental health when they were studying.

Georgia Naughton

Starting university is an exciting new chapter in life. Moving away from home to a new city, focusing on your favourite studies, and having the opportunity to meet new people, sounds like the perfect experience.

However, there are also many struggles that come hand-in-hand with university life, which in turn can have a negative effect on mental health. It’s thought that 1 in 5 students experience mental health problems at some point throughout their studies due to a variety of reasons.

Overwhelming workloads, loneliness, difficulties fitting in and homesickness, just to name a few, are factors that can trigger mental health problems whilst at university.

We spoke to individuals in our Young People’s Network who have studied, or are currently studying, at university and asked them what they found difficult about university life and what they wished they’d known about looking after their mental health while studying.

Take time for yourself

The workload at university may seem very daunting and a lot larger than previous studies, but taking time for yourself and having a positive work-life balance is key:

“I found that I spent so long trying to balance commitments and please everyone else that I forgot that it’s ok to take some time out for myself.”

“I am currently in my final year of university and the best advice I can give to all university students is make sure you take regular breaks and try not to let work consume you! Recognise when you are feeling a little overwhelmed and try to take regular breaks, you are your most productive self when you are well rested!”

“I used to pressure myself to spend the whole day at the library, which led to a lot of procrastinating, but I’ve learned that a couple hours of studying properly is more efficient and less stressful than forcing a whole day at the library.”

Reach out for support

Reaching out for support from friends, family and university staff is always helpful for your wellbeing. Keeping things bottled up never helps!

University counselling services are also a great way to access the support you need and should be made the most of:

“A problem shared is a problem halved – it’s an old saying but it’s true. Talk to your friends, your family, your lecturers, university support staff – everyone wants to help and sharing your problems and getting them out in the open is the first step to fixing them, whether the problem is to do with work, mental health, or just staying on top of everything!”

“One thing I wish I’d known whilst studying was the availability of the University Counselling service on campus and how easy it is to access support from them.”

Find out more

Keep an eye on our Twitter feed throughout the day for more advice from our network, and share what helps you!

You can also read a previous blog from one of our Young Person’s Network members about what it feels like to be lonely at uni.

If you’re a young person who wants to get involved in mental health research, our Young Person’s Network could be the perfect fit for you! Find out more and sign up here.

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Georgia Naughton is a Trainee Peer Researcher at McPin