Being a student isn't easy, but there's always help out there. On World Mental Health Day, CU Scarborough Campus Officer writes about the importance of reaching out whenever you need support.
"Deciding to go to university is a decision that will change your life, and there is a possibility that your family or close friends won’t ever have experienced being a student, so they won’t know what it’s really like. Student life is portrayed as being a whirlwind of crazy nights out, socialising, making lifelong friends and most importantly having fun. Yet this isn’t always the case for many of us as we face the challenges of being a student.
Many students will be signing up to university with an expectation of an easy-going, enjoyable time, without knowing about the challenges they may face. Some students will move hundreds of miles to be far away from home and others move to a completely different country having experienced a very different ethos and way of life. This sudden shift in lifestyle can be difficult to adjust to, affecting the person’s mental wellbeing and having a negative impact on their daily lives. Not eating properly, not wanting to socialise, difficulties with sleep and neglecting your studies are all common signs of a developing mental health issue.
It is possible that you may not notice or understand what is happening at first. This can result in a downwards spiral, leaving you unsure how to get help or what to do. However, there’s one thing you can do to get you back on the right track: reach out.
Reaching out won’t necessarily feel like you have changed the world, but it is a start and there are many people that can help you. Your friends, family and the Welfare team at the university will help you through no matter what the problem is. Big or small situations, they are there to support. You can never underestimate the power of conversation and just a matter of words can change a person’s day and sometimes their lives. As you walk around seeing plenty of students across your campus, remember that some of those people will have experienced similar feelings or even be experiencing the same situation as you.
At CU Scarborough, the Welfare team is your key contact to ensure that the first steps are made to support you through whatever you are going through. They always have a listening ear to hear your worries and concerns to support you every step of the way. They can also offer you a course of counselling to help you talk through whatever you are going through. That first step and conversation will not be easy, but it is a vital step forward to ensuring that much-needed help is provided as counsellors and other professionals form a supportive ring around you to give you the strength to keep going.
As World Mental Health Day approaches, we can celebrate how society has started to accept that mental health is an ongoing issue that needs to come to the fore. Conversations are increasing awareness as we start to realise how many people have faced mental health challenges and how they have overcome them. Mental health charities such as Mind and Samaritans become more widely known as more and people access and support their services. They’re here for you too.
No matter how big the problem may seem and no matter how hard things become, remember you are not alone and to reach out. The future is yours to make."
How to Reach Out
If you are struggling and in need of some support, see below for some of the services which are available to you:
At CU Scarborough you can contact the Welfare Team on firstname.lastname@example.org, or by asking at Reception to speak to a member of the Welfare Team. They can arrange for a course of counselling with our on-site counsellor. For free, impartial advice you can get in touch with Your Advice Service, run by Your Students' Union, at email@example.com.
If you need someone to talk to, you can contact Samaritans any time, day or night, for free by phone on 116 123 or by email or letter - find out more on their website.
If you'd prefer to text, Shout offers a free 24/7 confidential texting service if you're struggling and need to talk. Text SHOUT to 85258 to be connected to a trained volunteer who will text you back and forth.
Mental health charity Mind offers an information and signposting helpline and a legal helpline, as well as crisis resources providing practical advice to help you support yourself.
Andy's Man Club is a men's suicide prevention charity offering free peer-to-peer support groups for men aged 18+. A group operates at Scarborough Library every Monday from 7pm (excluding bank holidays).
If you are in crisis and your life may be at risk, you are in need of urgent medical help. Go straight to A&E or dial 999 for an ambulance.