Being a fresher is exciting! The prospect of living away from your family, making new friends and experiencing new things sounds amazing. We all had an idea in mind about what our first year at university would be like. Well, take it from us here at Subcultured: most of the time that ideal lives up to your expectations, but sometimes it doesn’t.
Moving away from everyone you know to a strange new place can be challenging, whether or not you’ve dealt with mental health issues in the past. We think it’s important that every student, fresher or not, knows what kind of resources are available to them to help deal with university life.
It’s no secret that stress is a major part of being a student and it can add to any other issues you might be having, making uni life hard. We think it’s vital that students are made aware of their options so that they can enjoy university to its fullest.
Here at Surrey we have our Centre for Wellbeing on campus, staffed by a team of nurses, counsellors and advisors, all available to help each and every student cope with university life. The Centre is open Monday to Friday between 9am-5pm; you can make an appointment to consult a counsellor or drop in on the on-duty nurse in an emergency. Our Wellbeing Services cater to all manner of needs, whether it’s mental or sexual health, body image advice, drug and alcohol advice or help with leading a healthy lifestyle.
And for those of you that maybe aren’t ready to talk to someone face to face, there is a whole range of online services out there who can help you adjust to living alone and dealing with the stresses of university life. The following helplines are all UK-based and have been recommended by the NHS:
Mind: Helps promote the views and needs of those suffering with mental health issues
Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)
No Panic: Offers support for sufferers of panic attacks and OCD
Phone: 0844 967 4848 (Daily, 10am-10pm)
PAPYRUS: Suicide-prevention society for young people
Phone: 0800 068 4141 (Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm and 7pm-10pm. Weekends, 2-5pm)
Victim Support: Support for those who have been the victim of a crime
Phone: 0808 168 9111 (Mon-Fri, 8pm-8am)
Beat: Support for those dealing with eating disorders
Phone: 0345 634 7650
We know it can be daunting and downright frightening at times to realise that for perhaps the first time in your life there’s no one to get you up in the morning or cook dinner for you in the evening except for yourself. All those little things you take for granted at home are now your responsibilities. Not everyone takes to university the same way and without the support you had at home, you shouldn’t feel ashamed if you’re struggling. Make use of the resources available to you, there’s no need to suffer in silence.
The university experience is different for everyone and if you need the extra bit of help to settle in then take it with open arms. Take a mental health day if you need it, eat junk food or go for a run, turn your music up or get lost in your favourite book – whatever works. University life is constantly changing and it’s not always going to be easy. If it’s getting to be too much, now you know that there’s a wealth of choices out there to help you through it.
Text by Holly Butteriss, image from http://www.pierreduplessis.co.za, originally created by Kiyohiko Azuma.