Some Common Mental Health Issues
Problems with mental health are really common!
'1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year' (Source: Mind)
More people experience mental health problems than you might expect!
If you are worried about your mental health it can really help to speak to someone about it.
Immediate help for yourself or someone close
The Samaritans provide confidential support 24 hours a day by phone, face-to-face, email and letter.
Visit 37 St Nicholas Street, Bristol, BS1 1TP.
Staying healthy can help reduce the effects of stress. We've some tips on beating stress through healthy diet, physical activity, and other tactics.
Food affects both physical and mental performances. During exam time it's easy to get into the habit of surviving on takeaways and ready meals and drinking coffee after coffee. But making sure you get a balanced, healthy diet is crucial to keep you functioning optimally.
To make sure you're eating lighter, healthier meals and the right kinds of brain foods:
- Get your '5 a day' in portions of fruit and vegetables
- Have oily fish every week
- Cut down on the 'bad' fats in your diet - go easy on the fast food and takeaways
- Have a high carbohydrate breakfast to start the day
- Try to eat regular meals and pack a healthy snack to refuel the brain as well as the body
- Drink plenty of fluid - go easy on the caffeinated and sugary drinks
You don't have to go overboard, it's still ok to have the odd treat!
If you enjoy cooking, make it something to look forward to at the end of a day's revision. If you don't, cook with a friend or set up a rota in your house to take turns so you don't have to do it as often.
Consider cooking a large batch of something like soup at the weekend (or on your revision day off), which is nourishing and easy to reheat during the week.
Getting active is a great stress-buster! Even if you're not 'sporty', or don't usually do much exercise, a little can make a huge difference to your mood. It's never too late to join a Univeristy Sports Club or Join a Univerisal Sport Team to play for fun and meet new people. If Team Sports isn't your thing then here's a few more ideas:
- Go for a walk
- Go jogging
- Go on a bike ride
- Join a Gym
Exam stress affects different people in different ways. Whilst the adrenalin and pressure can have a positive effect on some, others find themselves overwhelmed with anxiety.
It's probably not possible to completely eliminate stress, but some of the pressure can definitely be alleviated. If stress gets the better of you then exam performance, happiness, and your health can suffer. High levels of stress can cause an excessive production of adrenaline resulting in headaches, racing heart, fatigue, irritability, and sleeping problems. Remember, it's perfectly normal to be a bit anxious, but if it's making you ill then there are people you can talk to for support.
Strategies for coping with stress:
- Relaxation or meditation, try taking slow and deep breaths
- Talking to friends and family
- Tension release (e.g. shouting 'arrrrgghh!')
- Exercise and escape for a while
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Effective time management, try make a list and prioritise.
'Overall, depression occurs in 1 in 10 adults or 10 per cent of the population in Britain at any one time' (Source:Mind)
Depression is surprisingly common, and can make people miserable, lacking interest or pleasure, with low self-esteem. It can affect sleep, appetite, energy, and concentration levels. Depression often doesn't have an obvious cause.
- Mentalhealth.org.uk have a good description of types of depression and how to tackle it
- Students against Depression have great information, advice, and a student stories section where you can read what's worked for other students
- It can help to talk to someone
Many students feel lonely at times. It can seem that everyone else is out having fun and making friends, or that other students seem more confident and that you have little in common with them. Most students have these thoughts at some point at university.
A great way to meet people is by joining a Society If you find attending such an event on your own daunting, why not contact the committee in advance so that they can welcome you.
Sexuality and Gender
Worries about your sexuality or gender, or about how other people perceive them can cause stress, anxiety, and unhappiness. Mind has a great list of contacts for information about sexuality and mental health.
Take a look at some other useful Mental Health resources: