By a second year NTU student, Law LLB (Hons)
The taboo which surrounds mental health is still prominent even in 2019, and there’s only one thing that’s going to change that. Talking about it.
I think the key, not only to better mental heath at uni, but in general, is to be honest about what’s going on inside your head. Mental health isn’t physical, no one will know you’re struggling unless you say something. Words are so powerful. Talking opens up that opportunity for a support network. This support network is vital when living away from home in a new place, with new people, especially when you’re struggling with mental health issues. Not only this, but in my experience, opening up about your own problems, makes others feel able to talk about theirs. By talking you’re creating an atmosphere of trust and support which can be shared by everyone.
It’s an uncomfortable topic, there’s no question about that, but that’s only because we’ve been conditioned to think so. Approaching someone you know who has struggled with mental health issues is a tricky one. You don’t want to sound patronising or you many feel like it’s none of your business. Think of it like this – if your friend or co-worker had broken their leg, you wouldn’t hesitate to ask how they were doing or feeling when you next saw them would you. What’s the difference? There isn’t one, just because you can’t physically see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there or not as valid as a physical ailment. Again by starting this conversation, it destroys the stigma around mental health.
Being honest and open goes hand in hand with getting the most out of therapy too. Being comfortable with what’s going on inside your own head is so important in then being able to relay that to what essentially is a complete stranger. It’s hard opening up about something which causes so much pain and trouble to you, but it’s the vital start of recovery.
Talking is the remedy to the stigma around mental health. Be mindful of those around you, just because they might seem fine, doesn’t mean they are. A simple ‘How are you doing today?’ is all it takes.
Thursday 7th Feb 2019 is Time to Talk day – It’s a chance for all of us to be more open about mental health – to talk, to listen, to change lives. We’ll be getting the conversation started at NTU. However you do it, join us and have your conversation about mental health.
For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
Struggling at Uni? Student Minds have great resources!