Moving out of home to attend university is an overwhelming experience for many students. Learning how to function as an independent adult while trying to get good grades and make friends is a lot to cope with, especially if you’re living far away from your support circle.
While mental health problems can occur at any time of life, university students are particularly vulnerable. According to The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, one in four uni students in Australia experience mental illness in any given year.
If you’re feeling lost as a student, help is available. Here are some steps you can take to care for your emotional wellbeing at university.
Monitor Your Mental Health
It’s normal to feel sad or anxious sometimes, particularly if you’re dealing with major life changes. But if your mental state is starting to interfere with your everyday life, don’t hesitate to seek help. Recognising the signs of mental illness as soon as possible will make the recovery process easier, so you can learn coping mechanisms and start enjoying your time at university again.
Not sure how to recognise mental illness? These are some of the signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for:
- Changes in your sleep pattern
- Difficulty regulating your moods
- Unusually low or high energy levels
- Emotional outbursts
- Reliance on alcohol or drugs
- Weight or appetite changes.
If you experience any of these symptoms, consider making an appointment with a doctor or counsellor.
Know You’re Not Alone
Even though there’s less stigma attached to mental health these days, many students still hesitate to reach out for help. For a long time, mental illness wasn’t something people spoke about openly out of fear of being judged or misunderstood. Some progress has been made in breaking down the negative attitudes associated with poor mental health, but the stigma still lingers. It’s important to remember there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you’re struggling with the transition to uni student life. Speaking with people who may be experiencing similar issues can help you feel less isolated, so don’t be afraid to reach out.
From eating well to getting enough sleep at night, making small changes to your lifestyle can help restore your mental health. Life at university can be extremely busy, making it difficult to find time for selfcare. Rather than burning yourself out, be realistic with your schedule.
Leave time for simple things like exercising, cooking, or watching your favourite TV show. Don’t pressure yourself to attend every single social event – hanging out with friends can be fun, but spending a few hours by yourself is a great way to recharge your emotional batteries.
Suffering in silence won’t do your mental health any favours. Many universities offer confidential counselling services for students, providing you with easy access to mental health support. You could also see a GP or simply confide in a friend. No matter who you decide to talk to, speaking openly about your feelings is the first important step in the recovery process.
Having a strong support circle is a key element of good mental health. Living at UniLodge means you’ll be surrounded by a student community during your time at university.
Learn more about life at UniLodge today.