In 2017, 95 students killed themselves in the UK between the months of September and July, that’s 4.7 deaths per every 100,000 students which equates to one death every 4 days. A massive 94% of universities in the UK has seen a huge increase in students accessing their onsite mental health support. It is for this reason that days like Universities’ Mental Health day on March 5th are so important.
As someone who is a student who also suffers from depression and anxiety, although I am older than many of my peers, I now understand why these statistics are so high, and I am so thankful that my university has accessible services which are somewhat more reliable than those available on the NHS. In doing research I found that this is the case for many universities around the country, with many (my own included) now doing compulsory Wellbeing and Anxiety workshops alongside the standard Seminars and Lectures. If these are offered to you; Go. They will help you, even if you think they won’t, you never know when the stresses of deadlines will strike you and affect this aspect of your life.
In the modern age, students are attacked by the mainstream media almost daily. We are called ‘Lazy Millennials’ and very derogatory terms focused upon age. That’s not to mention those of us doing creative degrees; I for one am constantly told that my film degree is a ‘walk in the park’ and ‘Mickey Mouse degree. This is simply not the case, just because my degree doesn’t include as many statistics and graphs as a more conventional degree, it does not negate the stresses of deadlines and work. If anybody reading this has ever been told those things or read them within the media; my thoughts go out to you. Your degree is just as valid as anybody else’s. Nobody’s university life is less stressful because they have films to film or art to create rather than a 10,000-word essay. Remember that.
Mental health awareness is at an all-time high currently, unfortunately, that is because of the death of TV presenter Caroline Flack. Millions are using the hashtag #BeMoreKind in light of the tragedy, which can only be seen as a positive thing. Keeping that in mind, if you know a student – be it school, college or university, why not do something nice for them on Thursday? Even if it’s as simple as asking if deadlines are going well or making them a cup of tea. I guarantee that it will help them to know that someone out there is thinking about their wellbeing.
After you’ve done this, why not use the hashtag #unimentalhealthday to send a message of support to students nationwide? For some people reading what others are doing and messages to other students across social media will help those students who are struggling with being away from family and friends. Alienation within the student community is a massive problem for millions of students, especially those living away from the communities they grew up with, myself included. Why don’t we as a community try to combat this and let others know that we are thinking of them?
Chewigem is a family as well as just a community, and I cannot speak for every student when I say this, but I know that it’s helped me feel a lot less alone since September.
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