The Big Secret of Student Life
Published Tuesday, 25 February, 2014 by Amy Murnan
University. It’s all about socialising, having fun and gaining life experience, right? Or perhaps for you it’s all about learning, exploring your interests and improving yourself. For whatever reason you are or want to be a student, you will undoubtedly find something about it appealing.
However, you will also (undoubtedly) find some aspects of university unappealing. The fees. The workload. The dubious job prospects. These are some of the downsides of a degree that everybody knows about. They are in the news, they are debated and discussed – people may have even asked you about them. But there is one downside that is seldom talked about, even less by the universities themselves. A secret that is not included in any version of the student life myth.
No matter where you go, what you study or how many friends you make, one fact remains: students are more likely to encounter mental health issues than the rest of the population. We aren’t just talking minor complaints, either. During the recession, the number of student suicides almost doubled in women and increased by 36% in men. This has resulted in a strain on counsellors, causing the demand to rise by 33% since 2008. Clearly this is a serious problem, and with a whole load of issues such as social stigma, lack of awareness and education exacerbating things, mental illness is a secret that is still being kept by many students.
Nobody wants to deal with mental health problems, least of all at such a life-changing time. But if you really want university to be what it said on the tin - the best years of your life – it is more important than ever to face the issue. Even if you don’t think you are or ever will be at risk, 1 in 4 people will experience mental health problems in a year. That means that you will know someone, openly or otherwise, who is suffering.
But don’t panic. Here are just a few of the things that you can help to achieve simply by blabbing the biggest secret of student life.
Like many things, people often get the wrong impression about mental illness. This can be extremely damaging for people with and without mental health issues - it prevents people from spotting (or wanting to spot) symptoms, fuelling ignorance and discrimination. Help sort fact from fiction by trashing these mental health myths.
You may not think of common problems like stress, anxiety and disturbed sleep as mental health problems, but they can quickly contribute to one and have a large impact on your state of mind. Understanding why and how they do will help you understand how big or small your worries really are, and help you to remember how your behaviour might be affecting someone else.
If you are aware of mental health issues you will not only be able to help yourself find support, but you will be able to support others too. Remembering these early signs of mental illness may prove incredibly useful – and, if not, you have lost nothing by finding out about them.
It may seem simplistic, but in reality just being aware of the mental health of yourself and others is enough to prevent that niggling anxiety from turning into something more serious. Some of the most successful attempts to tackle mental health problems in students start with raising awareness. In this light, it seems illogical for universities to try and handle mental health issues on the down-low. It’s time for them – and us – to change.
Next week – find out the problem with perfectionism.
From The Blog
Student House Hunting for Dummies
If you haven’t already been bombarded with leaflets, free lollipops and invitations to join absurd promotional events, you are obviously lucky enough to live in a University with non-aggressive letting agencies nearby. For those of us who do, the mad rush to find a student house to live in for the next academic year could hardly have gone unnoticed. Hunting for housemates, signing contracts, paying deposits… the whole thing is all a bit bewildering.
Healthy body, healthy mind
It’s that time of the year again, yep – exam time! Whilst many of you think you’ve got more important things to worry about than what you’re having for tea, that’s one big mistake right there. So rather than being part of the 1/3 of students who rely on their lucky underwear to get them through these next few tricky weeks, be part of the 2/3 of students who choose to eat foods that will boost their memory, brain power and concentration.
Ten Great Snacks That Will Make All-Nighters Worthwhile
We have all been there. It is still early in the evening, maybe six or seven. You are sitting at your desk, ready to finish your paper. Well, not really.
You are not really ready to finish, or anywhere close. You are not even sure that you are ready to start. You know that you are going to have to do an all-nighter, but you are trying to convince yourself that if you start now, you will be done by 2am. Or 3am.
But who are you kidding? You are going to be here all night long. So you need to stock up on some snacks that will actually make you feel good about the pathetic situation you have put yourself into, yet again.
Valentine’s Day on the cheap (without looking cheap)
Most couples nowadays have to limit the amount they spend on each other for birthdays, Christmas and day to day activities. For student couples, this can be even more difficult. So when it comes to Valentine’s Day, as much as you might want to splash out and treat your loved one to an outlandish evening out (pretending not to worry about the mounting bill) your bank account may not agree. Valentine’s Day can often mean bars and restaurants bump up the prices and restaurants will no doubt be heaving.