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World Mental Health Day

Friday 11 October 2019

The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on the 10th of October each year. The focus in 2019 is 'suicide prevention' and with an ever increasing number of students suffering with mental health conditions, for Universities, it’s more important than ever.

Stress, anxiety and other conditions are affecting the day to day life of hundreds of thousands of students in the UK, with 27% experiencing a mental health condition. That’s a significant number, a high proportion of which are female or students who identify as LGBTQ+.

World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for all of us to gain a better understanding and greater empathy for people struggling with anxiety, depression or another of the many mental health conditions. It’s also a chance to check in with yourself; how are you feeling? Do you need some support?

Challenging the Stigma

We all have a part to play in overcoming the stigma around mental illness. The first thing we must do is accept the stigma, and begin to challenge it. For anyone who is still learning to manage a mental health condition, just getting through the day is sometimes difficult enough without the added pressure of feeling misunderstood or even judged. Stigma around mental health has hugely damaging effects; it causes reluctance to seek help or treatment and feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Helping yourself and others

Symptoms of mental health conditions are wide and varied, but here are a few signs to keep an eye out for;

  • Frequent changes in mood
  • Reduced ability to concentrate
  • Low energy
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Withdrawal from friends and family

If you think someone you know might be struggling with a mental health condition, there’s lots you can do to help;

  • Be patient and listen

It’s important not to put too much pressure on someone who is suffering from a mental illness. Acceptance is much more effective than trying to fix anything.

  • Educate yourself

Find out as much as you can about mental health conditions, this can give you a better understanding of what the person you know is going through.

  • Support them to seek help

Asking for help is often the biggest and most daunting step in overcoming a mental health condition. You can help by encouraging them to make an appointment with a GP or therapist, speak to a helpline or offer reassurance.

  • Self-Care

Often, we’re so busy taking care of other people we forget about ourselves. You can’t help anyone if you aren’t in good health so it’s important to check in with yourself. Remember not too take too much on and to talk to friends, family or a professional if you need support.

Mental Health at Sheffield Hallam University

Student and Staff wellbeing is an important priority at Sheffield Hallam. We have a number of wellbeing services which provide information and advice to support students and staff during their time at the University.

If you are a current student or member of staff, here are some of the services you can access;

Other help and Support

The most important thing to remember for anyone who is struggling is that there is support out there. A number of charities offer free online resources and helplines, such as Anxiety UK, Mind and Samaritans. The NHS website is also a useful source of help.

If you’ve had thoughts of self-harming or are feeling suicidal, contact someone you can trust immediately, such as your GP, a friend or relative. You can also contact the Samaritans helpline 24 hours a day, any day of the year, for free on 116 123.

This blog was originally written and posted in October 2018 by Kate Deakin, Schools and Colleges Engagement Officer at Sheffield Hallam University.

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