Watching your mental health.

With 1 in 4 suffering a mental health issue it could easily be you.

In 2013, The National Union of Students (NUS) found that 74% of their research group of 1200 students experienced mental distress once a month or more, 20% considered themselves to have a mental health issue and 13% experienced suicidal thoughts.

During your time at University there are many things you have to do: make sure your work is in on time, balance both work and play and on top of that find the time to eat a decent meal.

There are many factors that can affect you mentally when you come to university including; stress such as financial worries, pressure to succeed and living way from home and support networks.

However, with 1 in 4 people suffering a mental health issue at one time or another, looking after your mental health should be high on your list of things to do.

Sheffield Hallam is believed to have over 37000 students – that’s around 9250 students who could possibly suffer a mental health issue.
This year 1200 Sheffield Hallam students registered for the university’s wellbeing centre – a 14% increase from the year before.

Ursula Klingel, Head of Wellbeing said; “Ask someone how they are feeling and let them know you are there to listen.”

“Try and ensure you have a healthy lifestyle – sleep well, eat well, don’t drink or smoke too much and be careful about drug usage.”

The most commonly sought service at SHU Wellbeing is individual counselling sessions which were accessed by over 500 students in the previous year.

The centre offers many other services including 1-1, group work and self-help as well as running campaigns to raise awareness of mental health issues throughout the year.
In October the service will get one of the Vice Chancellors to sign the Time to Change pledge for the university and then in February there is University Mental Health and Wellbeing day.

Keep an eye out for other people too. You may not experience any distress yourself, but with mental health issues being so common, someone close to you could very well be part of the 1 in 4.

Look out for changes in behaviours; Warning signs might be someone who was once very active and outgoing, is now reclusive and doesn’t want to get out bed; any signs of self-harming like excessive drinking/drug taking as well as signs of physical self harm such as cutting, burning etc.

Another indication that someone could be suffering mental distress is excessive stress, anxiety and panic attacks along with changes to a person’s eating patterns e.g. not eating and weight loss, excessive or compulsive eating, and being sick after food.

If you feel like yourself or someone you know might need help, remember that there are various services that available; University counselling, GP or university health services, voluntary sector services in community settings, helplines or online support such as Samaritans.

Paula Lavis, the Coordinator and Policy Lead for the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition has been running a project with the Paul Hamlyn Foundation; “The aim was to develop local projects which work with young people aged 16-25, to think about how mental health services should be delivered.” (www.right-here.org.uk)

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