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Time to Talk: National University Mental Health Day
By Sophie Hack
On Thursday 2 March, it’s the National University Mental Health Day. A day to discuss mental health freely, and to raise awareness on an otherwise silent issue.
It is estimated that one in four people in the UK experience mental health issues. Out of those people, 75 per cent will experience mental health issues by the age of 24.
Campaigners stress that the rise in tuition fees are leading students to counselling, as there’s a 28 per cent rise in students seeking help, which coincides with the hike in fees. In 2013, NUS found that 13 per cent of those surveyed had suicidal thoughts whilst at university.
Despite these numbers, many students feel like they don’t have a problem, or that they cannot talk about it. Student helpline Nightline said that students feel too embarrassed to call or have the mentality that other people’s problems are worse than theirs.
Luke Mullins, Events Co-ordinator of Birmingham City University’s Mental Health society says that mental health issues are still “completely stigmatised.”
“If you tell someone you are depressed, they assume you are down all the time, however it kicks in when you least expect it.
“Sudden anxiety can kick in in the same way. People can assume that because you are confident you cannot have anxiety. For me, my heart starts racing and my legs start shaking, the physical symptoms are definitely there. It’s a physical illness as well that people do not realise.”
This year’s National University Mental Health Day aims to open up the dialogue between students and staff and to give students a time to take part in socials and activities, providing strong networks for when a student is in need. Campaign packs can be ordered for free from Student Mind’s website to help you stand out and raise awareness.
It is important to remember is that you are not alone. Every university has a space for those suffering with mental health to visit.
Check your university’s societies to see if there is a friendly, impartial place like the Mental Health Society to give you advice.
There are also charities such as Mind and Nightline that are in place to speak about any worries, confidentially and impartially.
I'm currently studying Media and Communications at Birmingham City University, studying journalism theory as well as the practical side. I specialise in entertainment and music journalism, one of my highlights was interviewing Wheatus last year in a Steakhouse! I'm currently the editor of my university's magazine The Scratch, which covers fashion, sport, entertainment, tech and all aspects of student life. I'm really interested in writing opinion pieces on governmental and social changes that affect young people, as well as students. I believe that more than ever young people have a voice on things that will change their life, and we should utilise this opportunity. After I graduate university, I really want to expand my skills and hit the ground running, and I feel like writing for NUS will help me take that step from student life to real world issues. I want to get out of my comfort zone and explore new fields within the industry and find out what other people's views are. In my spare time, I love playing video games and I'm currently trying to teach myself Japanese.