Roehampton University Prepares for University Mental Health Day

Pressures students face makes them susceptible to developing mental health conditions


Roehampton University

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Ahead of University Mental Health Day (7 March), Dr Aleata Alstad-Calkins, Director of Student Support Services at the University of Roehampton, comments on how students are susceptible to mental health conditions and offers advice to them to help maintain a healthier mind.

She said, “One in four adults will experience a mental health condition or decline in their lifetime. What’s more, according to a report conducted by international law firm Pinsent Masons, 15,000 students in the UK disclosed a mental health issue in 2016 - a staggering 12,000 more than what was reported ten years earlier*. During this time, universities across the nation have experienced a five-fold increase in students accessing counselling and mental health services.

Dr Aleata Alstad-Calkins

“University students are susceptible to developing mental health conditions or experiencing a deterioration in their mental health due to the unique pressures that they face as they enter and progress in their university life. The transition to university often means that students are living independently for the first time and juggling financial and academic pressures alongside social challenges. There are many adjustments that they are required to undertake in this transition and often this can become overwhelming for students, affecting their mental well-being.

“So, if you are a student, what steps can you take to safeguard and nurture your mental health? First of all, mental health should be your utmost priority. Learning new skills to manage stress and taking time to listen to your emotional needs is extremely important. Some ways in which you can do this is by taking a walk, listening to music, talking to a friend, attending an event, writing in a journal and starting a project. Take time for yourself and make sure you fit in activities which you enjoy in order to find a balance. Social interaction is hugely beneficial and universities offer a range of options to build your social circle such as societies, sports clubs and events, so finding the right fit for you should not be a chore. What’s more, your fellow students will be all in the same boat, so don’t think that you are the only one suffering from homesickness or struggling to adapt or make friends, because you are not alone. Additionally, taking care of your physical health is pivotal in maintaining a healthy mind, so eating well and exercising regularly can make a positive impact to your overall well-being.

“Last, but not least, you should not forget that there is help available to you if you feel that you are struggling or just need someone to talk to. Universities offer a wide range of mental health support and counselling services, so don’t be afraid to take the first step and ask for help as this can make a huge difference not only to your time at university but to your life overall.”

March 8, 2019

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