With mental illness on the rise, it’s more important than ever to look after your wellbeing. Here’s how to get help both within the University and outside it
I’m sure we are all very well aware that university can be a very stressful time, what with lectures, seminars, independent work, extra-curricular activities, and still trying to find time to get enough sleep, actually enjoy yourself, and look after your wellbeing. However, there might be times when it seems like you’re getting a little too stressed, reacting very badly to change, or just not able to get out of bed for some reason other than a hangover. If this is the case, you might just be one of the 80% of students that have experienced a mental health issue within the last year, so it is important to know that you are not alone and that your wellbeing matters.
The best thing you can do is talk to somebody, whether this is a friend, a relative, or one of the counselling team at the University. Your wellbeing is important, and the sooner you talk about it, the easier it will be to get the help you need. It might sound a bit clichéd, but talking to someone about your wellbeing really is the first step to recovery. If you don’t fancy talking to anybody you know, the University Counselling service does offer confidential support, ranging from one-on-one sessions to group sessions, full of people in similar situations to yourself. Sessions can be booked via telephone or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and there is lots of information on their various services available on MyManchester.
If you find you are struggling with work, talking to your Academic Advisor is definitely worthwhile; they may be able to make some arrangements with regards to workload. For those with a long-term condition, registering with the Disability Advisory and Support Service may be helpful, as they are able to provide exam support and extensions on major deadlines.
If you do not want to involve the University, there are lots of external groups that offer support, such as Mind, Samaritans, and ReThink. These groups can provide short-term help and advice over the phone, but long-term plans may be beneficial to your wellbeing too. If you go through your GP, the NHS offers counselling services which can be used to help change the way your mind thinks, and get yourself to a much better place on a permanent basis.
Lots of other self-care methods can be very helpful, and although it is very easy to get caught up in the stress that University brings with it, it is vital that you remember to let yourself unwind. Treat yourself every so often, even if it’s something as small as buying a really nice brand of tea, or your favourite chocolate. Similarly, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t make lectures because of your mental health- it should be treated the same as your physical health, and it is just as important. The best thing you can do is look after yourself and, if possible, let others help you.