Mental Health Matters

 

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I recently read a report on the BBC news stating the following:

British universities say they risk “failing a generation” unless students get better mental health care.

A Universities UK report found some students risked “slipping through the gaps” due to a lack of co-ordination between the NHS and universities.

The most up-to-date statistics show 146 students killed themselves in 2016. At Bristol, three students have died suddenly in the past month alone.

An NHS official said local services should collaborate with universities.

Henry Curtis-Williams, a photography student, took his own life in 2016, aged 21.

“He had lost weight, he had dark shadows under his eyes, he was clearly in crisis,” said his mother Pippa Travis-Williams.

“He changed from being that super-confident person to [becoming] just a shell of a person.”

The number of deaths in 2016 was higher than the 134 students who killed themselves in 2015 – which in turn was the highest total since 2006.

Universities UK said that over the past five years, 94% of universities had seen a “sharp increase” in the number of people trying to access support services.

Some institutions noticed a three-fold increase.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44091501

 

This is not ok. Especially since there is a growing amount of services and resources available to support young adults experiencing mental health issues during university.  University should be a holistic environment which allows a teenager to evolve into an adult whilst being supported with the challenges they face, they shouldn’t just have to “suck it up” or “get over it”. No longer can mental health be brushed under the carpet and dismissed as it is affecting more and more students. More importantly just because you have a mental health issue doesn’t mean it can’t be healed or managed in an effective way. 

This being said, we have pastoral tutors, welfare officers within the university and mental health weeks yet cases of suicide still occur – how can we help prevent this?

Well I have a few suggestions from personal experience/personal research:

  1. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It’s most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems.
  2. Counselling services within the university: they are present and can be walk-in or book in appointments. On-going support or one-off! 
  3. Student  and local night-lines: who can be called at anytime, if  a student was distressed and needed advice or just someone to listen to them.
  4. A hobby/volunteering: Something outside of work/exams that you can escape to and enjoy. That isn’t examined. This act can be very liberating.
  5. See a GP: if you feel medication is needed and if a clinical diagnosis is required.
  6. Attendance of ‘de-stress activities’ within the university: I know that within my university we have de-stress exercise timetables and mindfulness sessions. Some universities have a fun day where they have bouncy castles, animals, free messages and food to help alleviate the exam stress.
  7. Community: encourage students not to do exams in isolation. Fair enough if  personal study time is preferred but stay connected with people in between. It’s important to take regular breaks to recharge. Students are away from their families and in some cases their home country, community during times of stress can be very therapeutic. 
  8. Prayer: optional for others but what helps me personally is my Christian faith, praying to God… who I believe is bigger than me and my problems. Casting my cares and anxieties to Him gives me peace and comfort.

 

So…what steps can you take to support yourself or someone else with mental health?

39 thoughts on “Mental Health Matters

  1. Mental health is so important for me. I am currently sharing a string of posts. My most valuable piece of advice I can give to someone suffering and for someone who knows someone suffering is “To have patience”. Patience with the trial and error process of diagnosis and treatments. And then patience for those with illness. Patience when they feel low and cant explain why. Patience when they cant carry out “simple tasks” like making phone calls etc..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree, patience is golden. And can be so valuable to a person going through mental health issues. We underestimate it sometimes. I read your post too, very empowering and I hope it will trigger a wave of breakthroughs to whoever reads it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It seems like more teenagers and younger adults are depressed these days, or maybe it’s just that we notice it more as a society. I wonder if it has anything to do with the rise in popularity of social media. Do young adults get more depressed when they see images and good news their friends share?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah Diana you are right. I think social media has its perks but it can be destructive too if used in excess. Students/young adults can compare themselves to what they read/see and try to conform. Despise their circumstances and put excess pressure on themselves. It’s important to young people know their identity and realise that they don’t have to be “perfect” or followed/liked by everyone but rather be the best version of themselves.

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    1. I’m so glad CBT worked for you. And yes, more and more awareness is being raised but it does need to be discussed as it is still limited in countries outside UK/US etc. I pray that your latter days will wholesome and that the years depression and anorexia stole from you will be restored in fullness. Peace and Joy are yours today and forever.

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  3. We need to for sure spread more awareness, too many haven’t experienced it or known someone who has issues with mental health. It’s a real problem and it sucks for someone who suffers alone. I have family .. and I have seen first hand what positive support can do to help!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think it’s really important that we started paying attention to mental health. It’s not something that pills could easily take away. There are different ways to help out someone dealing with a mental health issue. Thank you for spreading the word.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Those are great suggestions and it is really important to pay any attention to this matter. Thank you for sharing this kind of awareness with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I come from a country (Italy) That is very slow understanding the true value of psychology and a medical health as something to be taken very seriously. There’s still a lot of ignorance about it, with the dihcotomic division between “mad” and “sane” that is the most misleading social perception.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it may take time to break down barriers and change preconceived notions but it is not impossible. Through further education, open discussion and people sharing their experience more understanding of mental health will follow.

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  7. Mental health is no joke. Having grown up with close family members dealing with it every day, it’s not something that just goes away. We have to become advocates for ourselves and for those who we love. There isn’t a magic formula that is a cure for it. It takes a lot of patience and understanding to get through the rough patches. Thanks for putting this out there. More people need listen and learn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah i can totally relate. I have had close friends affected and patience, love and an open mind are required to effectively be of service. Mental health is real and is important. We must also understand as humans that it is ok, not to be ok. Just be honest and real with people.

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    1. Yeah students are isolated from their families, are surrounded by other students and exam stress doesn’t help. However more and more universities are offering support to students and trying to promote better well-being.

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  8. It’s alarming and disheartening to know that mental health issues and suicide rate are increasing at an accelerated rate. There are several tools available and I wish people would reach out more and ask for help. We’re in the same boat, prayer and faith are my coping tools for my struggles in life. Although the road hasn’t been easy, God has never let me down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah the negative stigma associated with mental health is strong but hopefully awareness weeks like this will help people to reach out more. My faith has helped me too and given me peace during my storms.

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  9. Mental illnesses are a serious problem that needs to be addressed seriously. It’s hard for me to read such news. But I’m glad to raise awareness about it. I think that sport and staying in nature is a good thing and brings back mental energy.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. When it comes to mental health, it never hurts to be able to speak with a professional. But don’t just get frustrated if you don’t connect with the first one. It’s important to know that they are not alone and help is out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Students feeling overwhelmed and not having any one to talk to about the increasing stress that they may be facing is an epidemic. I’m grateful that you are highlighting this issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Mental health is indeed important and we should be mindful of that. Anyway, I agree that isolation shouldn’t be encouraged since that might lead to depression which is not proper for our mental health. As well, counseling is very vital to everyone, both victims and those who are okay.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hey Chin, just read your blog on mental health. Very insightful! Surprisingly my korean friend and I were talking yesterday about how mental health in korea is solved…and sadly it’s not. Its pretty much brushed under the carpet. Even parents do not acknowledge it. They suggest it’s all in your head and not to mention it to anyone. This is probably why the suicide rate there is pretty high ( not sure of statistics though, will check). Also another problem is that there may be students who are afraid to even say anything about their ‘mental health’ so it would be good to have more awareness of this at schools and even universities. Depression/mental health can start pretty young :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Neeks,
      Wow i’m sorry to hear that and I’m sure Korea is not the only country where this happens. I know there are more and more people campaigning to promote better mental health. A lot is offered at university but I don’t know how much is offered within secondary schools. I think even more adverts about it would help too maybe?

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  14. Posts like this are great. The more we talk about mental health in this way, the more it becomes less stigmatized. I think it’s also important to check in on people in our lives. Make sure they’re okay too.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My mental health is very important for me that is why I have tried to separate myself from the toxic people who are trying to make me crazy. I am pursuing my own happiness and I am turning out the people who emotionally abuse me.

    Liked by 1 person

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