In a 2022 survey by Student Minds, 57% of respondents reported that they've struggled mentally, with 27% claiming they've been formally diagnosed with a mental condition.
The main issues contributing to these staggering statistics, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, include 'moving away from home, academic and financial pressures and the absence of familiar social and emotional support networks.' All of these factors can, understandably, increase feelings of anxiety and depression among University students - especially first years.
I count myself within the 57%, having struggled with my mental health throughout my time at University so far. I found the first year of University, especially the last few months of my first year, draining on my mental health. Perhaps it was the homesickness finally catching up to me, or the stress of end-of-year assignments (or a mixture of both) that led to the breakdown of my mental health.
The last few months leading up to the summer break were filled with restless nights and anxiety. I didn't just feel bad mentally, but the anxiety took a physical toll on my body - I felt tired and weak all the time, leading to unhealthy sleeping patterns and a general lack of motivation to do anything. The absence of routine outside of my lectures massively contributed to this instability, as I had no excuse not to sit around and do nothing all day.
Luckily, I took it upon myself to utilise the University's mental health support system and reached out for some counselling sessions.
I accessed six free counselling sessions through the student wellbeing team and was paired with an incredible counsellor who made me feel understood and supported. I wasn't expecting the University services to be that great, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much they helped me prepare for, and settle into, my second year.
Newcastle University offers a wide range of mental health and student well-being options, catering for those who are seriously struggling with their mental health, and those who are looking for extra support during exam season or periods of transition.
These services include free, in-person or virtual counselling sessions, of which the University offers 6 sessions to each student per year. Additionally, they provide CBT and online self-help sources through Silvercloud, as well as support for PostGrads, estranged and international students. These services can be accessed through the 'Student Wellbeing' section of the Newcastle University website.
Another student reviewed the services saying, "My therapist was brilliant. They were incredible at their job and provided me with long-lasting support mechanisms which I hope will help me for a long time to come."
Due to the wide range of options available and the generally positive feedback Newcastle University receives for its Student Wellbeing services, which I can back from my own experience, I think our mental health support system is worthy of its reputation.