Why Mental Health In Higher Education Is Important
The process of living and developing better lives start at the point at which we start to study
Life is stressful, in many ways. At any point in our lives, we might be exposed to stress, anxiety and issues that we don’t know how to identify, let alone deal with. This is also the case for students taking on a years-long experience away from home, subject to academic and social dynamics.
As bombarded as we are with numbers, data and research, some of these are important to understand within the context. Unihealth is Britain’s only wellbeing and resilience mobile messaging programme for university students, and according to one of their surveys, 8 out of 10 students experience stress and anxiety, with almost half of them (45%) having feelings of depression.
Three-quarters of students don’t actually ask for help simply because they don’t know where to find it, are embarrassed to ask about it, or think that it is a waste of time.
But our health, whether it is in our minds or in our bodies is important to discuss, share and understand. When it came to their studies, Unihealth actually found 1 in 5 students didn’t feel supported by their university and felt they were not prepared.
Unfortunately, mental health services in Britain are failing to support students at this critical time. They are calling for urgent action so that national and local government, schools, colleges, the National Health Service and universities join up their services. However far this is from the ideal situation we need, we can all take some action of our own to re-dress this balance.
Mental health is a real issue affecting real people, raising public concern across the world; not just because of the causes and long-term effects on people, society and countries as a whole — but also because it is silent.
And, because of this, it is important that we talk about it freely and openly, as if we were talking about having fallen over and scraped our knees.
If we plot the journey of life, being at the start of your educational life as a student certainly exposes us to areas that affect the health of our minds. We might be within a certain age bracket, where expectations are thrust upon us not just from our families, but from friends and acquaintances.
In education, we will tend to look at our peers and judge ourselves against them, adding additional stress when we try to understand how well we should be performing. We also have coursework deadlines, exams, trying to juggle work with other commitments. All of this, adds to the pressure of trying to achieve!
You may find that working with others might create feelings of sudden anxiety, since you’ll meet people with different views and opinions. On the positive side, we can develop ways of understanding others and opening up ourselves to new possibilities. This can then give us the courage to try and dampen anxiety in positive ways.
Overall, well-being is of utmost importance, and when beginning on the path of learning that leads into higher education, it is important to prioritise good mental health, which will become a good and valuable foundation for the rest of your life.
This complete article was published by Education Today e-magazine in their July/August 2018 edition.