Going to university is a big step and for lots of people it’s not an easy environment in which to settle down in and feel comfortable in. And there are more of you out there; in recent years, counselling services have found an annual rise in demand of about 10% which the number of students using counselling ranging from between 5% to 10% of the student population. With the increase in costs of studying, the fear of failing to live up to expecations and uncertainties about job prospects it’s no wonder some of you are feeling nervous and anxious.
If you are at university, and need someone to talk to, there are plenty of places in which to turn to get help. Your university will have a counselling service which will offer a range of confidential and free services including counselling, psychotherapy, CBT and self help literature. You can speak to one of their professional staff members so that they can understand your problems, explore your concerns and decide upon the best course of action.
The NHS states that "a mental health crisis means that you no longer feel able to cope or be in control of your situation. You may feel great emotional distress or anxiety, can't cope with day-to-day life or work, think about suicide or self-harm, or experience hallucinations and hearing voices."
If you feel as though you are in a crisis, you can find your local crisis team via the NHS and contact them. If you want to talk to someone in confidence The Samaritans operate a 24-hour service and you can call them on 116 123. Universities also have their own confidential line offering you someone to talk to and they can be accessed via Nightline (www.nightline.ac.uk). Just type in your university on the website and their give you all the contact details of your local branch.
If you are worried about your safety or a friend's, for example you may be close to acting on suicidal thoughts or have seriously harmed yourself, you can either call 999 where a mental health emergency will be taken as seriously as a medical emergency or go directly to your nearest A&E. Once you are at A&E the team will tend to your immediate physical and mental health needs, liaise with the psychiatric team and decide on the best course of care.
Further mental health support
There are additionally a number of websites specifically aimed at young people's mental health:
PAPYRUS - Prevention of Young Suicide - offers confidential help and advice to young people and anyone worried about a young person.
The Mix offers advice on a range of issues for 16-25 year olds including mental health.
YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people.