Monday, 7 October 2019

#FresherPressure - Maintaining Your Mental Health at University

Phoebe writes about her top tips for tips for taking care of your mental health and making the most of what University has to offer 
Phoebe Barr

It feels like forever and a day ago that university was my new adventure but 3 years later, and a successful graduation, here are some tips for looking after your mental health when beginning university, that in hindsight I probably could have used myself. Whilst university is one of the  most exciting times of your life, a milestone achievement which you’ve probably been excited for all summer, there also comes many changes. Moving out or staying at home and embarking on your university journey can feel overwhelming at times, the many changes it encompasses and the uncertainty (albeit exciting) can prove difficult. Not to mention the fact that life doesn’t pause when you begin your new academic adventure and whilst it is a step up, its also important, (incredibly so) that you remember to take care of your mental health.

1. Get yourself into a routine: once your timetable comes through start planning what you want to incorporate into your time. Is there a specific society you want to join? Is there a long time sports, music, or interest that you want to continue pursuing alongside your academic work? Societies and sports clubs are a great way to not only pursue something which can make you feel fulfilled, but they also give you some valuable time to take care of yourself away from your screens. Exercise is wonderful for your mental health and they’re also a wonderful way making friends.

2. Check out the support at your university, universities are increasingly proactive about mental health whilst you’re studying. If you’re currently receiving support for your mental health or you begin to feel that you need it then get in contact with you student health centre and they’ll help you find the relevant resources and support centres. There are also some amazing voluntary organisations which run support groups and sessions to help with your mental health most of which will be advertised in your student union. They are there for a reason so don’t feel ashamed to ask for help.

3. Importantly, planning for how you are going to look after yourself is really, really important. Whatever it is that helps you de-stress and practice some self-care be sure to set aside some time to take care of yourself. Remember, you are more important than your degree, so by that logic, you should be working hard on looking after yourself. No exam or essay is worth sacrificing your mental health over; take time to look after yourself.

Useful contacts

Student Minds Starting University Guide 
This guide can help you with practical tips and managing your expectations or worries when starting University. Click here to read.

Samaritans
Telephone: 116 123 (24 hours a day, free to call)
Email: jo@samaritans.org
www.samaritans.org 
Samaritans provides confidential, non-judgemental emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those that could lead to suicide. You can phone, email, write a letter or in most cases talk to someone face to face.

Mind Infoline
Telephone: 0300 123 3393 (9am-6pm Monday to Friday)
Email: info@mind.org.uk
Mind provides confidential mental health information services. With support and understanding, Mind enables people to make informed choices. The Infoline gives information on types of mental distress, where to get help, drug treatments, alternative therapies and advocacy. Mind has around 140 local Minds providing local mental health services.

BEAT-Help for adults
http://www.b-eat.co.uk
Telephone: 080 801 0677
BEAT provides and operates helplines, resources and online support for adults and young people experiencing eating difficulties.

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)
https://www.thecalmzone.net/
0800 5858585 Nationwide
0808 8025858 London
CALM provides support to men of all ages who are dealing with difficult emotions or experiencing crisis.

Elefriends
Elefriends is a supportive online community where you can be yourself. Elefriends is run by Mind.

My name is Phoebe, I’m a Psychology graduate. I spend a lot of time campaigning for mental health awareness and I’m an ambassador for a number of mental health organisations including Beat and Time to Change.  I also have my own personal blog which I’ll leave the link to here: https://phoebebarr6.wixsite.com/website. Feel more than free to get in touch!


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