Taking care of your mental health at uni

Monday 10th October marks the day internationally recognised by the World Health Organisation as World Mental Health Day with an overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues globally and mobilising efforts in support of mental health.  

This year’s theme is making mental health and wellbeing a global priority for all due to the ever-growing social and economic inequalities threatening wellbeing everywhere. 

Whilst the theme impacts us all in some way, today we are looking at how mental health impacts you as a university student. 

Earlier in the year, Kortext and Wonkhe carried out some interesting research which revealed some of the biggest worries you as university students are struggling with across the UK, according to university leaders. 

Of the leaders surveyed, a substantial 80% said that student wellbeing and mental health is an essential strategic focus for them in the current year, so we teamed up with GP and mental health expert, Dr Dominique Thompson, to tackle 5 key issues and provide students with some practical next steps. 

1. Financial worries

50% of university leaders surveyed said their students’ financial circumstances were a concern. According to mental health organisation, Mind, “Poor mental health can make earning and managing money harder. And worrying about money can make your mental health worse. It can start to feel like a vicious cycle.” And the same can be said for studying.   

But there are ways to take control. Here’s what Dr Dom had to say:  

2. Academic performance

64% of university leaders surveyed said that student academic performance is a challenge they’re facing, which is unsurprising given most students have experienced some form of disruption from the pandemic over the last couple of years. In fact, a recent student survey revealed that more than a third of students experience imposter syndrome and don’t feel confident in their academic abilities.  

Dr Dom has some great advice on how to re-wire your thoughts and cut yourself some slack:  

3. Finding a graduate job after university

Student progression into graduate level employment is certainly a focus for university leaders, with just over half of all leaders surveyed considering it high on their agenda. The job market has fluctuated over the last two years, with graduate employment levels taking a hit in 2020, but opportunities do exist and there are things you can do now to prepare for the leap into employment.   

Check out Dr Dom’s top tips:  

4. Lack of time

University can be intense, especially around exam time – and your universities do understand this. Our research found that over 40% of university leaders surveyed recognised that students are often time-poor and have other commitments aside from their university work, and see this as a challenge they need to help with.  

If your workload is keeping you awake, let’s see what Dr Dom has to say: 

5. Cultural debates on the curriculum and beyond

The student body of today is diverse and culture rich. Unsurprisingly, as many histories and backgrounds come together, we are seeing debates over identity and accepted narratives being challenged – all important conversations that need to be had – but this can leave you feeling fatigued.       

Almost a quarter of university leaders surveyed said this was a challenge faced by some of their students.  

Dr Dom gives her thoughts on how to manage this feeling:    

To find out more about World Mental Health Day, tap here to visit the World Health Organisation’s website. 

Don’t forget, Kortext has partnered with Student Minds, the student mental health charity, to make sure you can get the help you need, when you need it. Simply visit your Kortext account and you can click through to the Student Space, Student Mind’s online hub where you’ll be signposted to national support services, useful information and a direct 24/7 text support service. The Department for Education has also published a blog on the benefits of the Student Space service which you might find helpful.  

Don’t suffer alone.   

Follow us on Instagram for more advice and tips! 

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