A practical guide for students by a charity founded in honour of one. The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust (CWMT) launch a handbook for students struggling to keep their heads above water.
It is rare that I speak to a fellow student who hasn’t struggled with periods of depression or anxiety during their time at university. It is important to keep this in mind when we slip in to the inevitable but unhelpful habit of comparing ourselves to others.
CWMT are right when they say, “it’s not just you”.
The new mental health guide emphasises the ways in which perfectly normal parts of student life can lead to problems with mental health. Inconsistent sleep schedules, deadline anxiety, changing timetables and new relationships are facts of life at university and can all lead to perfectly valid feelings of anxiety and alienation.
The nuggets of practical wisdom CWMT provide in their new guide are helpful and sensible. Using meetings with personal tutors and trying not to nap too often during the day are great things to keep in mind before seeking help from a specialist.
However, what is to me the most valuable pointer in this guide is the idea that these feelings do not reflect a problem with you as an individual. More and more it seems to be the case that issues with mental health are part and parcel of navigating your way through a bachelors or master’s degree.
Resources like this, simple as they are, can potentially be lifesaving. It is important that they become ubiquitous enough for people to know where to find them without asking.
It is not an admission of defeat to tell a friend or family member that you are depressed, but it can often feel that way. These kinds of online guides and manuals are great things to look at if you do not yet feel comfortable talking to anyone.
My only worry about this guide is that not enough people will know how to find it.