Many students struggle with their mental health at university. Being in a new area and away from family and friends can be daunting. But what should you do if the mental “freshers’ flu” and January blues just won’t go away?
It is ALWAYS a good idea to talk to someone about how you feel. A problem shared can often be a problem halved. Academic tutors can be an important point of reference.
If you are struggling, you should contact your GP as they can help you access a range of treatments. Medications prescribed to treat mental health, in particular antidepressants, aren’t magic pills. Medication can be helpful and improve your mood, but they can have side effects.
When you first start taking a medication, there is often a short period where you won’t see an improvement, but in the long term, you should see improvement. They are not “fix” as when you stop taking them, symptoms may come back. This is because antidepressants only address the biological aspects of depression. Your GP may refer you to Berkshire talking therapies, but you can also do this yourself. Doctors often recommend talking therapies and drug therapy in combination to address all possible causes of depression.
Berkshire talking therapies offer a whole range of treatments and support. This includes CBT, counselling, interpersonal psychotherapy, dynamic interpersonal therapy and behavioural couples therapy. If one mode of therapy doesn’t work for you, do not give up hope. There are so many different therapies available to you!
Support is available at the university. You can register for support with the Counselling and Wellbeing service. This can be done either online or in the Carrington building, room 109. The team offer support groups, counselling and meetings with a mental health advisor.
What can you do while waiting to be seen by a service?
Having suffered from poor mental health myself, here are my top tips:
- Communicate with your loved ones, it’s nice to have someone check in on you every once in a while.
- Keep busy. Breaking tasks into smaller tasks can make them a lot easier to complete. It can be satisfying once they are done.
- Look after your body. Try to eat 3 healthy meals a day, your brain cannot function properly if it doesn’t have fuel. Exercise can be a great way to get out of your head and release endorphins. Sleeping enough is also very important.
- Prioritise self-care.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123.