Supporting Students With Their Mental Health
It is great that 4th of March was a national day where we encouraged to get students to talk about Mental Health. And why stop there….
Not only universities should be talking about it but schools and colleges too. Mental health is affecting more and more young people every day.
Since Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah, despite all the controversies that surround it, it has surged the awareness and importance of mental health. It has got people talking about their own experiences for the first time and has encouraged people not to keep silent anymore.
Working in the NHS on a support line we have seen an increase in the number of calls from young men and women who are talking about suicidal thoughts and intent to self-harm because of whatever life experiences they have been subjected to and they feel completely alone.
What holds them back? The stigma, the shame, the guilt, the embarrassment, the fear, the lack of support, lack of understanding are but a few to name. Callers tell me they have no one they can talk to or no one understands. Their parents or friends mock them and tell them to “get over it” or “they’ll be fine”, so they bury it or find ways to manage or not manage.
How do you manage?
Young people I have worked with and work with use drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, excessive eating, excessive exercise, overwork or remain withdrawn, and many other maladaptive ways of coping. Sadly they are then dealing with physiological problems such as liver damage due to alcohol, ability to think and focus clearly due to taking illicit drugs, becoming obese, or too thin.
The list of physical damage and complications are endless and they do not have a rapid onset but a slow, longstanding effect. I refer to diabetes, heart conditions, high cholesterol, or digestive problems or, brain cells begin destroyed by alcohol consumption, delusional disorders, or paranoia due to the continuous use of cannabis as well as depression and other psychological complications.
What holds you back?
I would only encourage anyone if you know someone listen to them, empathise with them and signpost them to get help. Encourage and support them to get help.
1. What have I got to lose?
2. Am I not worthy enough to invest in my well-being?
3. Shouldn’t I promise to take care of myself in sickness and in health?
4. Why do I think I do not deserve better?
All the obstacles in the world come in the way, money and time being the two main ones. Are these really your obstacles, or are you?
Being young and carrying a burden as heavy as suicidal ideations or intent to hurt oneself is a cry for help. Get the help you need. Do not wait for another Mental Health Awareness Day to take the first step. Do it now.
It took great courage for Megan Markle to talk about the dark place she was in and how it took away from her who she was for a while but she has fortunately regained her confidence and love for life again. Be fortunate too.
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If you feel this article resonates with you as a University Student, or if you would wish to work with me to guide you in supporting your students, book your consultation.