Mental Health at University: Yas’ Story
University is often deemed to be the ‘best years of your life’, however this expectation can set an unrealistic benchmark for what is expected of university years. This can leave people feeling disappointed and unhappy. Therefore, it is so important that students are aware of their own mental health, as well as those around them, and that they know who to contact and have strategies they can implement to look after it.
I am a second-year student at the University of Bath, and I recently attended two courses run by Bath Mind; these were Tools and Techniques for Mental Health and Wellbeing Essentials for students. The training sessions gave me the tools to maintain good mental health and to help those around me, in a safe, comfortable and open environment.
Today more than ever, it is so important for people to look after their mental health. Students are exposed to a lot of challenging circumstances, including changes to their living environment, meeting new people and completing a degree, all whilst learning to be independent and growing as a person. Student life can be difficult to balance and finding this equilibrium can be hard. The current COVID-19 pandemic has also resulted in additional challenges in people’s lives, this includes the uncertainty, the lack of socialising and the restrictions on their lives. For some, this can be a real struggle to deal with and, as a result, can take a massive toll on their mental health.
University is often deemed to be the ‘best years of your life’, however this expectation can set an unrealistic benchmark for what is expected of one’s university years. This can leave people feeling disappointed and unhappy. Therefore, it is so important that students are aware of their own mental health, as well as those around them, and that they know who to contact and have strategies they can implement to look after it.
The courses I attended allowed me to reflect on my own emotions, my experiences, and my thoughts. It has showed me that reflecting on these things is crucial in developing a self-awareness of my mental health and understanding what sort of things can affect it. This is fundamental to maintaining a good mental health as you can remove or minimise these negative impacts.
The course educated me on tools that can help focus the mind, for example attention-training, which can help you to clear your thoughts and prevent you from thinking about negative/stressful feelings. During the course, we participated in many discussions, in a friendly, comfortable environment, which allowed you to learn from others and talk about things you don’t tend to talk about. It created an open space, where people were willing to share their own thoughts and opinions, which I believe is vital in order to remove the stigma around mental health. Each week we focussed on a different topic, from ‘Dealing with Difficult Emotions’ to ‘Transforming Worry and Improving Performance’. This provided us with knowledge in a broad range of topics, as well as coping mechanisms to deal with unwanted thoughts/feelings. It was also a great opportunity to meet new people, which is a particular challenge in the present situation.
The sessions ran each week, which provided a nice break from university work and gave you time to think about yourself and how you’re feeling, which is often forgotten about when you’re busy and have lots on your mind. It is so important that people prioritise their mental health and make sure they look after it. Therefore, I would recommend these courses to anyone. It opens your mind to things that you don’t normally think about or consider and provides you with methods to acknowledge your own mental health and maintain the homeostasis in your mind.
Now more than ever it’s essential that students are equipped with the right tools to look after their mental health and wellbeing, and to break down stigma. A huge thank you to Yas, for your honest and insightful words.
Author: Sophie Saunder
Posted on: 1st February 2021