The Coronavirus outbreak has been a challenging time for everyone, but now third level students have to adapt to new learning experiences in the midst of a pandemic on top of dealing with their personal lives.
College can be a stressful time facing exam, financial or accommodation difficulties. A new routine can be challenging to settle into, and you may find it strange particularly with the changing guidelines. Your mental health is of the utmost importance, which is why we’ve put together a few quick tips for caring for yourself and your mental health.
A glance at mental health in Ireland.
Last year in a project funded by the HSE, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) surveyed over 3,000 students across the country on all aspects of their mental health and mental health services in third level institutes in Ireland. The objectives of the study were to;
- Explore the proportion of third level students who report mental health distress and ill health
- Provide information on the mental health of specific groups such as students within the LGBTQ+ community, third level students and students with disabilities
- Report on the availability and usage of mental health support services for third level students
- Produce recommendations for policy relating to student mental health at third level
As the key findings, students who responded to the USI survey reported feeling and experiencing extremely severe levels of anxiety (38.4%), depression (29.9%) and stress (17.3%). Mental health in third level education has historically been an issue that USI have been lobbying and campaigning for, due to the impact it has on student’s routine’s.
Another reported point was the one fifth (20.9%) of students did not have someone to talk to about their personal and emotional difficulties. Also, those involved in activities outside of their coursework had reported better mental health overall.
A free on-campus counselling service was considered important for students, which is why the national student movement is working to ensure students are provided with free and accessible on-campus mental health services across the board.
Read it in full by visiting https://bit.ly/37jzYSB
What to focus on right now
The Union of Students in Ireland are running the Re:Charge national student mental health campaign. It is the second consecutive year in a row to run alongside campaign partners, the HSE. The main goal of the campaign is to inform students in third level education of ways to ensure their mental health is a top priority whilst maintaining the busy student lifestyle of juggling studies, work and their social lives.
Now, more than ever, it is important to focus your energy on taking care of yourself, you can do so by doing things that bring a little spark of joy to your life such as:
- Remember to maintain a regular and healthy diet;
- Practice some form of exercise like go for a walk, running, yoga, that you can do inside your room or outside nearby;
- Take some time to read a book or learn something new;
- Cook something that you like and appreciate your food and progress;
- Take care of yourself, your body and skin by drinking a good amount of water everyday and doing a routine of selfcare.
Talking to someone when you may feel overwhelmed is a great stress reliever and builds on your positive relationships. Sharing is caring so don’t be afraid to reach out to family and friends!
Getting mental health support in college
If you are facing problems and you would like to seek support for your mental health, remember that you can receive support from a multidisciplinary group.
NUIG for example, has a full document of guidelines and actions for mental health. Click here to read in full https://bit.ly/3kihANS
As always, know that you are not alone and our staff here at both Swuite Galway and Dublin are there to lend an ear should you need it!