Your SU: Scarborough

Does my student mind matter?

CU Scarborough Campus Officer Michael Kendall shines a light on student mental health.

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Michael wears a Your SU hoody and is smiling at the camera outside CU Scarborough.

Going through the university process simply isn’t an easy path to take, facing huge highs and overwhelming lows. Over the years, there has been a perception that university is always a fun and enjoyable time, as you socialise with friends, grow as a person, and create memories that will last forever. Yet until recently there hasn’t been a spotlight shone on the darker times and the group of students that are going through tough times, who need so much help and support.

In recent years, the coronavirus pandemic affected every institution worldwide in the education sector, especially universities. This turbulent time influenced mental health and wellbeing worldwide, especially students who have suddenly found the university experience they expected, instantly overturned. As universities were forced to quickly adapt to a new way of teaching and learning, students faced a sudden instability, affecting their own mental health.

As the world adapted post pandemic, and the daily distance learning was reduced, students returned to university in a more normal capacity and a way that they expected, but the challenges that affected mental health pre-pandemic started to become apparent and problematic to students. With some issues, such as moving away from home and financial situations, becoming more prevalent and noticeable again after the pandemic.

When potential students are looking at starting University, one of the main factors that many consider is the geographical location and the distance from where they currently live. At a small campus, such as Scarborough, which heavily relies on local students, the majority don’t have to face the upheaval and stress that comes when moving into different living accommodation. Aspects such as the size of student halls, private accommodation, living individually or as a group, living in a larger town or city, are all factors which can affect the mental health of a student. There is also the financial impact on students, who are now identified as being poverty stricken, placing them in one of the poorest groups within society. 

Many of us have experienced the additional pressure of studying at a higher academic level, as we go through school, college, and university. In a similar way, as school pupils move through the year groups and go from GCSEs to A-Levels, university students must adapt and manage the additional pressure as they start and progress through their undergraduate or post-graduate programme. This increase in academic study level, can impact the mental health of students as they are faced with a higher demand and pressure that comes with higher education studies. However, this additional pressure, as well as other challenging circumstances, can be overcome through the support given, whether this be external support from family and friends, or internal university-based welfare support. When support is in place for students, they become more likely to succeed through their degree and not leave the university. This has also been recognised by universities worldwide, as welfare and other support services become more prominent within institutions.

It’s fairly common knowledge that students are faced with a variety of issues that can affect their mental health, although the people who really understand these challenges are students who have been through the process of studying at university. Throughout the years at university, there will be issues that students expect to face and others that have not been recognised and become more of a prominent issue than anticipated. There simply isn’t any perfect university experience nor is their any handbook to tell you how to deal with mental health struggles. Yet there is many sources of support and advice available, which will help any students, from any background, maintain a healthy and positive mindset.

If you're struggling with your mental health, click here to get in touch with the CU Scarborough Welfare team.



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