The Student Room Group

Mental health support during the Pandemic – is it easy to get help?

Poll

Are you confident you could find support for your mental health if you needed it in COVID-19?

As the pandemic continues, we’re seeing lots of students reaching out to the TSR community with questions about their mental health. As the new academic year starts, there’s load of change happening, and ongoing lockdowns/restrictions are creating a challenging environment for many.

We are aware that the access to Mental Health support isn’t always as straight forward or the same for everyone, and will vary due to so many factors so we’d like to hear from you about your experience accessing mental health support you have previously experienced or are currently experiencing.

What have you found particularly helpful in looking after your mental health (resources or your own habits, maybe?)

What have been some of the road blocks for accessing Mental Health support?

What has been your overall experience with Mental Health support?

Working with clinical psychiatrist Dr Richard Graham, we've put together some helpful information to answer some of the most recent questions we’ve seen on TSR about anxiety, depression and seeking support. There's also some really helpful stuff at Good Thinking.

Sometimes it can be really helpful to hear from other people who've been in your shoes. Ahead of World Mental Health Day this year, a few people from the TSR community have shared their stories and talked about the support they received when they needed it. You can read these here...


I've had anxiety for as long as I can remember...

Spoiler



In my third year of uni, I hit a massive wall...

Spoiler



I decided to seek support from a GP when I started university... (content warning)

Spoiler


A few weeks ago, my partner asked me outright if I was having physical dysphoria...

Spoiler

(edited 3 years ago)

Scroll to see replies

Mental health support during the Pandemic – is it easy to get help?

As the pandemic continues, we’re seeing lots of students reaching out to the TSR community with questions about their mental health. As the new academic year starts, there’s load of change happening, and ongoing lockdowns/restrictions are creating a challenging environment for many.

We are aware that the access to Mental Health support isn’t always as straight forward or the same for everyone, and will vary due to so many factors so we’d like to hear from you about your experience accessing mental health support you have previously experienced or are currently experiencing.

What have you found particularly helpful in looking after your mental health (resources or your own habits, maybe?)

What have been some of the road blocks for accessing Mental Health support?

What has been your overall experience with Mental Health support?

Working with clinical psychiatrist Dr Richard Graham, we've put together some helpful information to answer some of the most recent questions we’ve seen on TSR about anxiety, depression and seeking support. There's also some really helpful stuff at Good Thinking.

Sometimes it can be really helpful to hear from other people who've been in your shoes. Ahead of World Mental Health Day this year, a few people from the TSR community have shared their stories and talked about the support they received when they needed it. You can read these here...


I've had anxiety for as long as I can remember...

Spoiler



In my third year of uni, I hit a massive wall...

Spoiler



I decided to seek support from a GP when I started university... (content warning)

Spoiler


A few weeks ago, my partner asked me outright if I was having physical dysphoria...

Spoiler

(edited 3 years ago)
Reply 2
I honestly think most MH issues on the milder end of the spectrum can self-manage by incorporating healthy habits into their daily life. Eating healthfully, drinking enough water, moderate exercise, good support system (not engaging with toxicity where possible), good and restful sleep. Meditation, using self-help resources and journalling as well. The problem is most people don't want to take responsibility for themselves and would rather get a MH diagnosis and use it as an excuse and it's honestly sad. This means the people with more moderate issues or severe of the spectrum struggle to get help because people with subclinical issues won't help themselves (took me over a year to get specialist help pre-pandemic and various times almost getting sectioned due to deterioration of my MH).

Mental health issues aren't easy to deal with but you have to take some responsibility for yourself to live a healthy lifestyle, if it doesn't improve or you're severely affected (or suicidal even) then you must get help.
The stepped care model as applied to mental health causes so many problems. IAPT just doesn't work and is one massive distraction.

For me one of the most important things is often people try many stategies and sticking to them is important. If you are going to exercise you need to do it for a year. If you are going to do mindfulness you need to try it for some months. If you are going to try therapy you need to stick it out. I see so many people jumping around from one strategy to another after a few days. We all want results quickly but sometimes we don't stick to things as long as we should.
I just call my psychiatrist up and we video chat. :dontknow:
I mean I know where to go if I need it. But nobody actually cares anymore unless it's covid. So I have my own (albeit very unhealthy) coping mechanisms which are working perfectly :biggrin:
Original post by Pathway
I honestly think most MH issues on the milder end of the spectrum can self-manage by incorporating healthy habits into their daily life. Eating healthfully, drinking enough water, moderate exercise, good support system (not engaging with toxicity where possible), good and restful sleep. Meditation, using self-help resources and journalling as well. The problem is most people don't want to take responsibility for themselves and would rather get a MH diagnosis and use it as an excuse and it's honestly sad. This means the people with more moderate issues or severe of the spectrum struggle to get help because people with subclinical issues won't help themselves (took me over a year to get specialist help pre-pandemic and various times almost getting sectioned due to deterioration of my MH).

Mental health issues aren't easy to deal with but you have to take some responsibility for yourself to live a healthy lifestyle, if it doesn't improve or you're severely affected (or suicidal even) then you must get help.


People with ‘mild’ mental health conditions deserve respect, to be taken seriously and have a right to treatment just as much as those with ‘serious’ mental health conditions. It is not their fault that the system is broken. To ask for help for you MH takes courage. People with poor mental health already struggle with the guilt of ‘wasting the doctor’s time’ or ‘not being deserving enough of help’ and I would worry that reading things like this only makes them feel more invalidated.

A ‘mild’ MH issue still causes suffering, and it’s not for you to decide an arbitrary threshold of how severe you need to be to deserve help. Suggesting you should only seek help if you are severely affected or suicidal (!), or have made at least x lifestyle changes first is unfair, unreasonable and likely to cause MH issues to become even more entrenched. On lifestyle changes, people may not be in a privileged enough position to do this for themselves or struggle because of their MH issues in the first place. They might not be as educated as you to know these things.

The assertion that “most people don’t want to take responsibility for themselves and would rather get a MH diagnosis and use it as an excuse” - I’m not sure what stereotype you have in mind here but I don’t know how you could possibly extrapolate that this is true for ‘most people’. I find it upsetting that you are blaming the fact you struggled to access help on people with “subclinical issues who won’t help themselves”. It is a stigmatising and offensive attitude. Going to a doctor is helping yourself. Attending IAPT sessions takes effort. Doing therapy homework is taking responsibility.

I am not sure if you wrote this post when you were angry or just worded it badly but please think about how it comes across. I hope you get the help you need.
Original post by Pathway
I honestly think most MH issues on the milder end of the spectrum can self-manage by incorporating healthy habits into their daily life. Eating healthfully, drinking enough water, moderate exercise, good support system (not engaging with toxicity where possible), good and restful sleep. Meditation, using self-help resources and journalling as well. The problem is most people don't want to take responsibility for themselves and would rather get a MH diagnosis and use it as an excuse and it's honestly sad. This means the people with more moderate issues or severe of the spectrum struggle to get help because people with subclinical issues won't help themselves (took me over a year to get specialist help pre-pandemic and various times almost getting sectioned due to deterioration of my MH).

Mental health issues aren't easy to deal with but you have to take some responsibility for yourself to live a healthy lifestyle, if it doesn't improve or you're severely affected (or suicidal even) then you must get help.

I agree with this.
I think the system is extremely broken - like the social housing system - unless you have an "extreme or bad case" you'll been either told to buzz off or referred to your college or uni to be a burden to them instead. The reality is it's getting worse - the CAMHS system in Scotland is a failure - I got rejected 3x for support from a 3 year period - and still been left in limbo - even though I have bad ADHD. The recommendation was to go see my University support team - which I have done before - but they can't prescribe new medication or are a replacement for a GP - I pay NI for nothing pretty much.

The system is dire and I eventually lost patience and went private instead.
The system was broken before Covid and is even worse now.
I have healthy daughter who has just started her uni, but I have also daughter who is 5 yr non-verbal severe ASD. I meet a lot of misunderstandings of my daughter behaviours from parents who have verbal children with mild autism. My little girl probably would never has chance to study like their though I know that they also have to deal with not always fair treatment.
Absolutely nothing, I’ve reached the point where I’ve exhausted all options for me to help myself at home.

The extreme long waits, needing to actually reach out for help, not wanting to put my hardy barrier down, more recently the fact things are over the phone (I’m autistic and struggle with this).

It’s somewhat ok. I didn’t like how quick the doctor was quick to put me on sedating medication though. I either live like a zombie or being taunted by my own mind. Lose lose.
No.

It was difficult pre-pandemic, if anything it is now even more difficult.
I have been managing my issues for years without any kind of professional support, not for want of trying just for lack of services.
Hey guys,

I just wanted to let you know I've just popped a few personal stories from students into the OP. Thank you to those people who chose to share their experiences. It can be so helpful to be able to read what others have been through. We'll be doing loads more around mental health this week, as it's World Mental Health Day on Saturday!

We will also be sharing the results of the poll in this thread with the wider world - it's important that your voices on important issues like this are being heard, especially with the theme of WMHD this year being 'mental health for all - greater investment, greater access.' :yep:
Hey guys!

Just a quick one to share with you some practical tips we've put together for seeking mental health support during the pandemic. It also talks about how to identify if what you're feeling might be anxiety or depression. It's over here.
(edited 3 years ago)
Original post by BlinkyBill
Hey guys!

Just a quick one to share with you some practical tips we've put together for seeking mental health support during the pandemic. It also talks about how to identify if what you're feeling might be anxiety or depression.

I'm not sure that is the right link, although I am very curious as to what "Flywheel Alignment: Attract" might mean.
Original post by DiddyDec
I'm not sure that is the right link, although I am very curious as to what "Flywheel Alignment: Attract" might mean.

Thank you. I've fixed that link now. :smile:
Reply 17
No. Since I live in the US and can afford private Ive had pretty good experiences overall pre pandemic bar the sky high rates. With Covid though I had to stop going to therapy as I felt uncomfortable doing it virtual with the possibility that my family could overhear things and Im in the risk group so I cant do it in person ( which they are surprisingly still offering last I checked ). Pre pandemic I wasnt going as frequently since I was getting much better managing but I havent spoken to anyone in 7 months now.
Im getting better at self managing due to all of this which I suppose can only be a good thing but I feel quite alone in that.
Original post by Pathway
The problem is most people don't want to take responsibility for themselves and would rather get a MH diagnosis and use it as an excuse and it's honestly sad.

As a health professional, this is sadly incredibly true.
Reply 19
Interesting

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