1 in 4 people will experience a mental health illness at some stage during their life and it's one of the biggest killers (suicide) of men ages 18 to 30.
The figures found from research are chilling, and yet it is still something we hardly discuss, in public or private, which is a significant part of the problem itself.
The stigma surrounding males openly talking about their feelings and thoughts is something that needs to be changed. Figures produced from research on suicide and mental health illnesses show that 75% of people who take their own lives have never been diagnosed with a mental health problem. This highlights the importance of seeking help and honestly talking about your thoughts and feelings.
I've been in this position myself and only started to open up and get help after I had a breakdown that left me needing serious help but my friends and family were unaware of the mental torment I was going through. I didn’t open up, seek help and felt ashamed. I didn’t understand why I was feeling like that and I felt so alone even though I was surrounded by friends and loving people.
PLEASE seek help, even if it’s a phone call to a helpline, or if it’s a message to a friend or family member - you are never alone. When I talk openly about my thoughts and feelings I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders. It leaves me feeling ready to combat any obstacle in front of me, physically or mentally.
Here are my five tips I would strongly recommend to follow if you are finding university life hard to cope with:
- Seek help. This could mean talking to a to a tutor, friend, family member, GP or qualified organisation (Samaritans or Nightline)
- Exercise. This increases the serotonin levels in the brain - this is the chemical that decreases when you're feeling depressed.
- Take every day as it comes. If you are feeling low, don't take on more than you can handle. It's important that you understand that every day is a fresh start.
- Positive thinking. Appreciate every little thing that you have whether that is eye-sight, sense of touch, hearing, ability to communicate, walk. There are plenty of things we often take for granted.
- Relax. Meditation is something I've found is a great way of releasing stress and refreshing the mind and body.