University is an exciting time: It’s an opportunity to discover who you are, get that first taste of independence, and meet new people who have the potential to become friends for life.
But for many young people, going to university can also bring about some dark and difficult times. Living away from home for the first time, managing a challenging study workload, and navigating new social groups can be an incredibly overwhelming experience. According to a recent YouGov survey, one in four students report experiencing mental health problems while at university, citing depression and anxiety as the most common ailments.
How do you identify whether you have a mental health problem?
Signs and symptoms vary depending on the type of illness you are struggling with, so it’s always a good idea to speak to a mental health professional and get a proper diagnosis. However, some common things to look out for are:
- Persistent feeling of sadness and hopelessness
- Confusion or reduced ability to concentrate
- Extreme mood swings
- Withdrawal from friends and activities
- Low energy or changes in sleeping pattern (sleeping either too much or too little)
- Delusions, paranoia or hallucinations
- Substance abuse
- Major changes in eating habits
Some symptoms of mental illness can manifest themselves as physical ailments, such as unexplained aches and pains.
What can you do?
If you recognise yourself in one or more of the symptoms listed above, you might be struggling with a mental health problem. The first thing to remember is that this is ok, you are not alone, and there are many options available for finding out more or getting help. These include:
- Visit the Information and Advice page on NTU’s Student Services website, it contains masses of useful information specifically focusing on issues faced by students.
- Get some confidential advice from a mental health charity such as Mindor Samaritans, either by calling them
or visiting your local branch.
- Make an appointment with one of NTU’s Student Support Officers, who can help you identify your problem and give advice on the best course of action.
- Book an appointment with your GP, who would be able to assess your situation and offer advice or refer you for treatment.
NTU also offers Counselling, which you can
There is likely to be a waiting list to receive counselling through the university or your GP, so going privately is an option to explore if you’re keen to get started as soon as possible. Private therapy sessions can cost between £50-100, depending on the practitioner’s level of experience and the types of therapy they offer. Some therapists offer
Finding Support Digitally
If counselling or therapy is not something you’re ready for, NTU has partnered with a
What to do if you have an existing mental health condition?
If you are arriving to NTU with a pre-diagnosed mental health condition, the university has a dedicated Mental Health Supportteam who are there to help students overcome the barriers set by their particular illness, so that they can have the best possible experience. It is advisable that you get in touch with them before you arrive, to ensure a smooth transition.
Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of, much as having a sprained ankle or a chest infection shouldn’t be. The more open and honest we are about our struggles with mental illness, the better the resources available to treat them will become.
By Polina Bach
Polina is an NTU Alumni Fellow. You can find out more about how to get involved with the Alumni Fellowship Programme here