Monday, 9 May 2022

Mental Health Awareness Week 2022

Monday 9 May to Sunday 15 May marks Mental Health Awareness Week and this year's theme is 'loneliness'. The Editorial Team have come together to share their thoughts and experiences on feelings of loneliness as a student.

- Student Minds Blog Editorial Team

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place each year from the 9th to the 15th of May and this year the Mental Health Foundation has set the theme of 'loneliness'. As university students and graduates (especially during the lockdowns), the Editorial Team can relate to feelings of loneliness and we've come together to share our own experiences and how we deal with loveliness.

Natalie (Student)
When moving to university, it is easy to feel lonely as you move away from your friends and family and start a new life in a new city. Living independently can cause some to isolate themselves, but it is important to remember that you’re not alone. It is very normal as a student to feel lonely sometimes, and what I like to do in this situation is to reach out to friends and family and to remember that support is always there for you.

Luke (Student)
There is nothing worse than feeling completely isolated and alone, and you can feel your thoughts spiralling and you begin to catastrophise everything. I have found getting out and going on walks along the seaside or in nature refocuses my perspective on life. 

Martina (Graduate)
During my last year at University, I was living in a studio flat alone. Without my family in the country and friends moving back home during the lockdown, I felt extremely isolated. Knowing this situation my closest friend organised to sync Netflix and watch our favourite series together or we would meet for a walk every Saturday. We could catch up regularly giving me something to look forward to and helping reduce loneliness.

Riley (Student)
Have you ever felt empty and lonely after a party with your mates or a busy exam period? We may not realise how we’re feeling when we are busy or with somebody because we are used to relying on the people around us and our busy life. You may be lonely but you do not notice. Let’s just pause and give some time for ourselves!

Sarah (Student)
Feeding on nostalgia is my go-to when I’m feeling lonely. I think we all have a ‘comfort show’ or two that never fail to make us feel better. Whether that’s laughing at a cheesy rom-com (I love to hate them) or curling up watching a Ghibli film, escaping into another world for a while can be a welcome distraction.

Preksha (Student)
Firstly, it’s very important to know the distinction between feeling lonely and being alone. You could be surrounded by a room full of people and still feel lonely, and you could be alone in your room but not feel lonely. Nevertheless, I would strongly suggest that you should make an hour a day at the least to just step out of your dorm room. Whether it’s to exercise or run errands like grocery shopping or meeting some friends. Don’t make the mistake of isolating yourself in your room every day because eventually, you will start to feel quite lonely. 

Rosanna (Graduate)
Social media can make loneliness feel so much worse because it looks like everyone has an amazing, social life with loads of friends, but remember that it's not real life and not many people need constant social interaction anyway! Your best friends are probably right under your nose. Don’t feel embarrassed for needing to reach out to them. Loneliness is increasingly common and it isn’t a reflection on you as a person.

Share how you're getting involved with Mental Health Awareness Week on our Facebook group.

Find out more about what you can do to improve your wellbeing on Student Space.

Written by the Student Minds Editorial Team. Find out more about them here.

Friday, 22 April 2022

The time to reflect

Tayyibah reflects on her journey since the pandemic.

- Tayyibah Hussain

Lockdown has impacted us all from the beginning of March 2020, whether positively or negatively. It has been tough for many in terms of mental health and wellbeing.

From the first lockdown to now, I've seen many opportunities to grow. Even though at times it's been tough, with support from the Early Childhood Studies staff and students here at the University of Derby, I'm doing amazing. 

Everyone who knows me knows that I have mental health struggles. I've never been comfortable talking about it. I used to hate having to speak about it or listen to anything regarding it – I’m not sure why, but I felt awful about it. I was so shy and lacked confidence and self-belief. I didn't have a lot of friends and I wasn't a very talkative person, only around the right people. I always felt judged by others and that's why I stayed quiet.  

During the first lockdown back in 2020, I struggled not being in college speaking to tutors or classmates; it was a difficult transition from college to university as I felt things wouldn't get better. During this time was when I first decided to make my mental health page @asafeplacex to just post and meet others. It really did help that I met amazing pages on Instagram like @crazyheadcomics and others. This page did help and continues to help me.  

I went on to university and I thought I'd struggle. The beginning was difficult, but I decided to become a student representative for my course to improve my confidence and communication skills. The staff at Derby University have been amazing and have helped me to have faith and self-belief – something which I'm still working on, but they have pushed and supported me. 

Throughout being a student representative and having days such as #universitymentalhealthday and #mentalhealthawarenessmonth, I helped and supported others on the course. I've completed online courses for mental health and been working on myself. I've gained so much confidence over the past 2 years alone and I've made huge progress with my confidence and communication skills.

Since last year, I've written blogs for Student Minds, and created a document full of helplines and resources for students if they are struggling or know someone is so they can share it. This year, I've also been nominated several awards: the National Diversity Awards’ Positive Role Model award, the Education Awards’ Inspirational Student award, and the Student Representative of the Year, Personality of the Year, and Biggest Representative Win of the Year awards at Derby University.

All of these things I've achieved. 3 years ago, I wouldn't have thought I'd be able to get this far. I'm forever proud of myself and thankful for everyone who has supported me throughout my journey. 

This is a sign if you are struggling things will get better and will start to improve. You aren't alone and you are cared and loved for. You matter.

Whether you are looking for support for your own mental health at university or supporting a friend, help is available.

Tayyibah Hussain is currently a student at the University of Derby studying Early Childhood Studies. She is interested in Mental Health, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and supporting others and hoping to inspire them to have self-belief and faith in themselves.