A recent study conducted by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) found that the UK’s 16- to 24-year-olds are more vulnerable to mental health conditions than any other age bracket. This is, in part, because around 75% of mental illness cases present themselves by age 25, but the issue is quite shocking for the UK’s student population, as most students at university fall within this age bracket.
Issues such as substance abuse, depression, anxiety, stress, loneliness and thoughts of suicide have increased among university students by 25% over the past ten years. This upturn could indicate that today’s students experience more scholastic pressures than past generations.
Adjusting to living away from home, in addition to the financial strain of university expenses, the benchmark of academic success, the tension of career outlooks and the expectation of an active social life can be arduous for students to manage.
As a result, these factors could impact their overall psychological state. The Independent estimates that the number of affected first-year students is now five times higher than it was ten years ago. If you are new on campus and acclimating to the demands of university, here are some pointers to ease this transition and care for your own mental health in the process.
Exercise has long been known to release endorphin and serotonin hormones, which make you happier. The benefits of exercise on both the mind and body are undeniable, and more universities are now starting to harness this with exercise-based interventions for those who suffer from mental health issues. You can embrace this idea in your own life by developing a workout routine that enriches both vitality and stability. At LIV Student, gym memberships are included in your rent, which makes the perfect excuse to try something new.
Find an Outlet to Balance Studies with Fun
As a fresher, you are expected to take academics seriously and earn high marks to position yourself for success in your three years as an undergraduate. But while education is important and the main reason you are on campus to begin with, balancing these studies with extracurricular and social activities is critical. Research conducted by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found a direct correlation between not enough time for leisure and indicators of depression. If you do not offset your academic tasks with hobbies and enjoyable pursuits, it can adversely affect your mental health. Whether you join a multicultural society, an improv comedy troupe or a field hockey team, a social outlet is imperative.
Access Student Living Help and Resources
As mental health within student populations increases, more campuses now offer services to help contend with this issue. Both universities in Sheffield have student advice centre’s that offer support and guidance if needed. The Student Advice Centre is a professional, impartial, confidential and non-judgemental service, providing advice, support and representation to help you resolve your problems.
For Parents: How to Know if Your Child Is Settling into University Life
While the onus of caring for their own mental health is ultimately on the student, as a parent there are signs you can learn to pinpoint how your child is adjusting on campus. Since, in most cases, you will not interact with your child face-to-face on a regular basis anymore, it can be difficult to assess how they are coping with university life, but there are some indicators you can look for, even from a distance, to help gauge their mental state. Here are five questions to ask your child, according to The Guardian, if you suspect they need extra help with navigating this transition.
- Is the student connecting socially with their friends and peers?
- Is the student maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle?
- Is the student committed to furthering their own education?
- Is the student involved in their on-campus surroundings?
- Is the student mindful of serving others in their community?