The rose tinted spectacles have once again come off and the reality of what this forthcoming academic year has in hold has started to set in. Freshers week is a distant memory and those all important exams are starting to creep up on you. It’s times like these that it’s easy to feel stressed, anxious and depressed, but how do you tackle these feelings, where can you go for help and who is around to support you?
The prominence of mental health among students is growing every year with the number of students seeking a counselor rising by a third since 2008. There is still however a great taboo in talking about it. Mental health is just as important and just as real as any kind of physical illness, if you had a nonstop pain in your stomach you wouldn’t think twice about going to see a Doctor, so why are we scared to go and see a mental health professional when we have a mental health problem? Because of the stigma attached to it. You can practically hear the intake of breath at the mention of depression but with 20% of students believing themselves to have a mental health problem, whilst 1 in 5 report suicidal thoughts, there is nothing more important than breaking down these barriers and actually talking about it!
At Bangor there is a broad student support network dedicated to dealing specifically with any mental health issues. The University has two dedicated mental health advisers along with offering counseling and facilitating any specific support that an individual may require. (To find out more please visit bangor.ac.uk/studentservices/mentalhealth). Not only is there support from student services but also the SU who are working closely with the ‘time to change’ campaign, the first national campaign to end the stigmatism towards mental health issues.
October the 10th hosted World Mental Health Day, a day aiming to raise awareness for mental health, and similar to the ‘time to change’ campaign, attempting to tackle the stigmatism associated with it. Bangor University held their own event which Nicola Pye attended; “On Friday 10th October, health care sciences and the students Union celebrated the World Mental Health Day in Reichel. It was a successful event, with a number of local North Wales mental health services that came to the event. The AU dance club performed an inclusive Zumba routine twice in the day. Help and advice was available from stall holders including our time to change society and healthcare science students promoted healthy living with a smoothie bike, a fun way to get people active and enjoy free fruit smoothies. Mental health is important in leading happy lifestyles and we shouldn’t discriminate against it, only tackle and help people with it. We will be launching a similar day on February 13th 2015 during the Students Union healthy living week.”
Mental health is an important issue, if you feel like you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to talk about it and seek the help you may need. Equally if you know of someone struggling with mental health, talk about it, support is inclusive of anyone affected whether it is marginally or significantly. It’s OK not to be OK – just know who to talk to when you’re not.