We're all taught that university will be the best years of our lives...
Combined, for some people, this might be the case. But, regardless, this doesn't mean that every second spent at university, for everyone, is filled with joy.
In fact, with moving away, starting a new course and learning to budget key things you have to master straight away, it can be quite overwhelming.
Some people will be scared to admit when they're struggling and it all becomes too much, but spotting the signs and offering advice or support could be just what they need to get them back on track...
Have you spotted any of these?
- Social withdrawal: A loss of interest in other people
- A drop in functioning: Quitting, failing or difficulty performing familiar work tasks or partaking in social activities
- Problems with concentration: Unusual trouble with memory loss or logical thought and speech (speech may slower than usual)
- Apathy: Loss of initiative or desire to participate in activities
- Nervousness: Fear/suspiciousness of others
- Odd behaviour: Uncharacteristic or peculiar
- Lifestyle: Changes to sleep or appetite and/or decline in personal care
- Mood changes: Rapid or dramatic shifts (may result in emotional outbreaks)
One or two of these symptoms alone can’t predict a mental illness. However, if you've noticed significant changes in a friend at university that is affecting their day to day life, it might be wise to talk to them about it.
Small gestures like listening and showing you care can make a big difference.
There are many sources of help and support available, with two thirds of people in Britain having had mental health problems nobody should feel alone;
- Samaritans Helpline is for those who are experiencing high levels of distress. Contact this 24-hour helpline on 08457 909090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd prefer face-to-face support, Samaritans have many branches across the UK, click here to find the branch closest to you.
- Nightline is a confidential listening, support and practical information service open at night and run by students for students.
- Students Against Depression is a website offering advice, information, guidance, and resources to those affected by low mood, depression and suicidal thinking.