Today (3rd March) is University Mental Health Day, a day that brings together the university community to make mental health a university-wide priority and promote year-round changes and improvements to champion student mental health.
Research carried out recently by Kortext and Wonkhe revealed some of the biggest worries university students are struggling with across the UK, according to their institution leaders. Of the leaders surveyed, 80% said that student wellbeing and mental health is an essential strategic focus for them in the current year, so we’ve 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:
Visit the Uni Mental Health Day website to view an interactive map where you can find events near you, and you can even join in and show your support with the hashtag #unimentalhealthday on Twitter and Instagram.
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 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.
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