Mental Health Awareness Week: Thriving at University

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Airmed
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This week it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and the theme is seeing why too few of us are thriving with good mental health. This thread is for talking about thriving at university with mental health.

University is a stressful, exciting time, but trying to thrive at university while keeping on top of your mental health can sometimes feel difficult. You might go to university with a pre-existing mental health illness, like myself, or discover at university that getting that bit of extra support for your mental health is not a bad thing.

How have you thrived at university and looked out for your mental health? Have you made the best out of a bad situation? Do you have any tips for people starting uni this coming September?
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SHUGURU
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(Original post by Airmed)
This week it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and the theme is seeing why too few of us are thriving with good mental health. This thread is for talking about thriving at university with mental health.

University is a stressful, exciting time, but trying to thrive at university while keeping on top of your mental health can sometimes feel difficult. You might go to university with a pre-existing mental health illness, like myself, or discover at university that getting that bit of extra support for your mental health is not a bad thing.

How have you thrived at university and looked out for your mental health? Have you made the best out of a bad situation? Do you have any tips for people starting uni this coming September?
My tips for keeping on top of mental health at university would be:

Join societies or sports teams
Unis always have lots of societies and sports teams, and they're the best way to meet new people and get involved with fun activities that interest you outside of just studying! They can help you get to know the city and get to know more people with similar interests to you. When there are meetings or socials you know you've got something to look forward to even if you've been feeling down.

Begin Assignments Early
This seems like the most boring advice, but we all know the stress of trying to do an assignment at the last minute. Attending all the necessary lectures/seminars helps so much when it comes to actually getting your work done, and if you start this with enough time in advance it means you will have the information freshly in your mind, and you will have more time to access support from your tutors or lecturers as well! It might also help to do work with a group of friends every so often, so it doesn't become a chore, and you can keep each other motivated while also making the task you have a little more sociable.

Access Support
As the original post says, too few of us are thriving with good mental health. At university, where the stresses of money, grades and assignments, living independently and the fear of the future looming over us, it's not a great surprise that many students suffer with poor mental health. BUT this also means that the universities understand the common problems, and will (in my experience) provide the support that you might need. At my university for example, we have academic support (academic advisors, faculty helpdesks); lifestyle support (careers and employability centre, accommodation services); personal support (GP surgery, Wellbeing service, mental health workers, chaplaincy services), and I'm sure a few more I may have missed off the list. Getting help seems daunting no matter what you're struggling with, but the support systems are there for you, and using them can help trememdously!

There are many ways to improve your mental health, but these are just a few of my top tips from my experience. I would be interested to see everybody elses tips too
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furryface12
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(Original post by SHUGURU)
My tips for keeping on top of mental health at university would be:

Join societies or sports teams
Unis always have lots of societies and sports teams, and they're the best way to meet new people and get involved with fun activities that interest you outside of just studying! They can help you get to know the city and get to know more people with similar interests to you. When there are meetings or socials you know you've got something to look forward to even if you've been feeling down.

Begin Assignments Early
This seems like the most boring advice, but we all know the stress of trying to do an assignment at the last minute. Attending all the necessary lectures/seminars helps so much when it comes to actually getting your work done, and if you start this with enough time in advance it means you will have the information freshly in your mind, and you will have more time to access support from your tutors or lecturers as well! It might also help to do work with a group of friends every so often, so it doesn't become a chore, and you can keep each other motivated while also making the task you have a little more sociable.

Access Support
As the original post says, too few of us are thriving with good mental health. At university, where the stresses of money, grades and assignments, living independently and the fear of the future looming over us, it's not a great surprise that many students suffer with poor mental health. BUT this also means that the universities understand the common problems, and will (in my experience) provide the support that you might need. At my university for example, we have academic support (academic advisors, faculty helpdesks); lifestyle support (careers and employability centre, accommodation services); personal support (GP surgery, Wellbeing service, mental health workers, chaplaincy services), and I'm sure a few more I may have missed off the list. Getting help seems daunting no matter what you're struggling with, but the support systems are there for you, and using them can help trememdously!

There are many ways to improve your mental health, but these are just a few of my top tips from my experience. I would be interested to see everybody elses tips too
This is amazing advice! I'm not at university yet, starting this year and as someone with multiple health issues (physical and mental) it's something I'm very worried about. But, I've deliberately picked a university relatively close to home with good support services and am going to get in contact with them in the next few days. Also working out how I can gradually be building myself up over the next couple of months to give myself the best possible chance of getting through and enjoying it there. Will bear these in mind, thank you!
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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Some great advice above! I can't think of much more to add, so am only adding 2:

1. Find a work space that is conducive and works for you. Not everyone finds studying in libraries productive or helpful - I certainly don't! It's important to try and figure out early on what environments motivate you, aid your concentration, and result in better productivity. It might be a cafe, or a social space - it might even be outdoors! So explore a bit, mix things up, and try everything you can think of til you find something that works for you.

2. Be patient and persevere when it comes to finding friends and like-minded people. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are solid friendships! Some of the best friendships you will have will only begin later on in your course. Try not to get too despondent if you are struggling to find like-minded people straightaway. The post above has a good point about joining societies - that can be really helpful. If there's not a society that interests you, why not consider setting one up for your favourite interest or hobby?


As for my own personal experience, I think finding good support networks has been key to me being able to thrive at uni (not all the time, I do have difficulties and struggle a lot at times). I've got a really solid support network at my current uni (my third uni!) and that's made a huge difference to how I feel about my studies, as well as my ability to do them
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