Mental Health Awareness: looking after your wellbeing at university

22 May, 2023Mutahara Gofur

University is an exciting time. You have the opportunity to explore a subject you’re passionate about, meet new people, and start making plans for your future career. But some students find that balancing their studies with an active social life – not to mention managing their finances –can be stressful.

Here are a few tips on how you can look after your mental wellbeing during your time at university.

Mental health at university

Going to university often involves moving out of home and managing your own finances for the first time. On top of this is the academic workload itself, which is usually considerably higher than anything students will have experienced before. Even after you graduate there’s the task of finding a suitable job. So, it’s fair to say that today’s students can face quite a bit of pressure.

This can have very serious consequences for mental health. In fact, Randstad’s 2022 mental health report found that seven in every 10 students have either:

  • been diagnosed with a long-term mental health condition
  • are experiencing a short-term mental health condition
  • believe they have a mental health condition which has not been diagnosed.

They also reported that 50% of students have thought about dropping out of university due to mental health issues.

It’s clear that mental health problems among university students are more common than we might think. However, it shouldn’t get in the way of you getting the most out of your university experience.

So, what are some steps that students can take to safeguard their mental health?

Creating a support network at university

Creating positive and supportive relationships is vital for your mental wellbeing throughout your studies. Engaging in group discussions, joining clubs or societies related to your interests, and participating in extracurricular activities, will allow you to connect with your peers and build new friendships.

Not only will this kind of social network provide you with a sense of belonging, but it can also be a source of support during challenging times. You may find people who are struggling or have struggled with the same issues you are and can provide advice based on the coping strategies they used themselves.

Establish a balanced study routine

Succeeding in your degree is very important, of course, but your mental health must also remain a top priority. When an assignment is due or exam season has begun, it can be easy to neglect your wellbeing.

To mitigate this, try creating a revision timetable well in advance that outlines your study goals, gives you plenty of time to cover the necessary course material and allows for some downtime. Your study schedule needs to be realistic, but it’s important to include regular breaks to give yourself a chance to recuperate.

When you take breaks from studying, do something that allows you to relax and leaves you feeling energised for when you do get back to revision. Make sure that you are also fuelling your body properly, especially during exam period, whilst also getting enough sleep.

Not only will scheduling in adequate rest do wonders for your mental health, but it is also likely to have a positive effect on your studies.

Find out what support is available to you

If you’re struggling with your mental health and feel like it’s affecting your studies, talk to your personal tutor and tell them about your situation. They can let you know what your options are, such as applying for mitigating circumstances or get reasonable adjustments made. They can also offer general study advice that can help you keep on top of things.

Most universities understand how important mental health is and will have some form of pastoral care or wellbeing services available. For example, at LIBF we have a qualified counsellor for students.

Some universities may also offer student-led support groups.

Seeking professional help for mental health

There can be a lot to organise when you start university. One thing you should aim to prioritise is finding a local GP, especially if you’re moving away from home. This is important for general health and wellbeing, but being registered with a local surgery will also mean that, if you feel like you need professional help for your mental health, they can refer you to a counselling service or provide you with other treatment options.

There are also numerous services with free resources and helplines you can reach out to:

It’s important that you make the most of your opportunities at university. But to do this, you’ll need to make your mental health a priority and utilise the resources and support available to you.

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