Wednesday 28 February 2018

What is community?

Leah shares the importance of community and how this has helped support her with her mental health through university.
Leah Barfield

"The condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interest in common"

When it comes to your mental health, it’s important to surround yourself within a community where there isn’t judgement or stigma. A group that is supportive and helps you through the hardest times.

When I first moved to University, it took a long time for me to adapt to the new lifestyle and the ‘Student Life’. I find myself to be quite anti-social and avoid situations like large parties or nights out. I fear that when I am out with people I will get left or something bad will happen to me. Living in a new area, thats so far from a place which has so much familiarity to me is hard to adjust to.  Being nearly 200miles away from home.

I would get days when I wouldn’t leave my flat because I thought that if I was to try and get somewhere in the area, I would panic or get lost; if I did then I would be a fool or failure. I found different groups of people who I would acquaintance myself with, however I never felt confident enough to stay with those people.  I managed to figure out and discover who it was who accepted me once I started to mingle with more people.

This is where I was able to reach out.

Since being at University for over half of the first year, I’ve managed to mould myself out of this shell of extreme low self esteem and confidence, into a group where I feel supported and I can trust them with how I’m feeling. I no longer feel alone and I have more confidence in getting through my time at university knowing that I’m not going be alone.

I may still have days where I find it hard to go to lectures due to my depression and anxiety but I know that the support team at my university, my lecturers/tutor and my peers and friendship groups will accept me and be there for me when things get a bit overwhelming or when I need some guidance.

Finally feeling a part of a community within University has finally made me feel so much better about being here and studying what I love.

Take action and be part of a growing movement to transform the state of student mental health. Join a Student Minds group on your campus or set up a group today

Hi I'm Leah, I study Documentary Photography at the University of South Wales. The importance of talking about mental health and starting the discussion is key to my ambition. 

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