‘You’re not alone’

January 30th, 2013

Although just 0.3% of people declare a mental health disability on their university application form, a 2012 survey conducted by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, suggests that almost two thirds of students nationwide believe that they have a mental health problem.

Stress was also reported to be extremely high among those questioned in the Time To Change survey, with workload, financial pressure and personal issues all contributing to feelings of anxiety.

These issues will be highlighted on Wednesday 20 February, when Nottingham will join institutions across the UK by marking University Mental Health and Wellbeing Day.

The annual event aims to promote the wellbeing of students and staff in Higher Education, counter negative impressions of mental health and highlight the support that is available.

While providing immediate help, the day will also raise the profile of the support on offer at the University throughout the year, including the University Counselling Service, Student Support Centres and Nightline – a student-run service offering peer-to-peer, confidential support via telephone, email and instant messaging.

Students have also been praised for launching Mental Wealth, a group campaigning to combat stigmas about mental health, raise awareness of mental wellbeing and provide a friendly, non-judgmental atmosphere in which to socialise.

After starting the group with fellow students Luke Rodgerson, Joanne Dawson and Georgia Power, third-year English and History student Sarah Murphy received the Student Volunteer Centre’s Volunteer of the Month Award.

“Mental Wealth is unique in that it is a student-led project designed specifically to support students with mental health issues, while raising awareness of mental health on campus,” said Sarah. “Through events such as Time To Change, we have got over 500 students to make a pledge to talk about mental health, while The Friday Alternative offers an informal social group for students who may have experienced mental health issues themselves, or who have come into contact with those who have.

“For students, finding the right balance between work and relaxation, away from that traditional support network of friends and family, can be very daunting and it is unsurprising that some may develop mental health issues during what is a very exciting, but challenging time.

“If anyone thinks that they are experiencing mental health issues, it is important to remember that you aren’t alone. It’s surprising just how many young people have experienced or are experiencing mental health issues to some degree. The most important thing to do, no matter how big or small you think your problem may be, is to get in touch with the University Health Services, where there is a huge amount of support on offer.”

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