Students and Mental Health
By Naureen Hafiz
With approximately one in four people suffering from a mental illness problem in the space of a year, it’s no wonder we are hearing more and more about it in the media and news outlets.
It is however, especially prominent in the student community. According to a study conducted by The National Union of Students (NUS) they found that 20% of the 1200 students thought they had a mental health issue, with 13% of students having suicidal thoughts.
This however is only part of the problem. Having interviewed many students I found that most of them only knew there was something wrong after their mental health issue had become more developed to the point of interfering with day to day life.
It points to something very troubling, and that is that even though the world is having medical breakthroughs every day, there is still something very lacking when it comes to mental illnesses.
I spoke to one a student who chose to remain anonymous. In 2012 she was medically diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder.
“There isn’t enough education with mental illness. We’re not taught about warning signs, or how to seek help. So we go through our university life thinking that what we’re feeling is either normal, or it’s ‘just uni stress’. But that’s not the case at all. People are developing serious mental illnesses. They are even taking their own lives because they were not getting the help they needed. There needs to be more education on this subject so people no longer suffer in silence”
There seemed to be a very similar train of thought with all the students that I interviewed, so it is obvious that these students, and probably many more, feel that they were not equipped with the right knowledge to understand the complexity that is mental illness.
Another student I spoke to who also chose to remain anonymous said,
“It’s easy to think that what you’re feeling is normal because it’s developed over a long period of time. So if you’re always having panic attacks, for you it’s normal because you’ve felt that way for such a long time. But mentally, I feel, it’s just destroying you to have to feel those things constantly.”
Most of the students that I spoke to explained how their mental illness often interfered with their studies. Some of them saying how they found it difficult to leave their homes to attend lectures, others saying how they would suffer panic attacks during lectures and some who even said they felt they could not continue their degree and had to hold it off.
Whatever the case it is clear to see that the issue of mental health is not being dealt with as well as it should. But I implore anyone who reads that and is worried about their mental health to seek help and speak to someone who you feel will understand your issue and will be able to help you.
Stay safe dear readers.