It is another year where many young people have gone back to university. Ever since the pandemic hit, the awareness around mental health and wellbeing have increased. This doesn’t mean that mental health within young people wasn’t there before the pandemic, because it was. It just means that young people don’t want their mental health to be ignored anymore.  

A new approach to mental health in universities 

There are many reasons as to why a young person’s mental health will decrease because of the university environment. These include, exams, financial situations, loneliness due to moving away from family and friends and many more. 

Last year we talked about how university students don’t get enough support from the universities they attend. This is still the case! However, this isn’t a reason for people to think badly or take it out on professors or teachers etc as they have struggles too. But, things should be in place to support the young people that ask for help. 

We also gave tips and activities for those who are struggling with going to University whilst still in lockdown. Even though we aren’t in any lockdowns at the moment, these tips and activities may still be useful to many of you so why not find out more here!

This year, I want to have a different take on it! I want to talk about how we can come together to support each other and make the university environment a much better space for young people. 

Here are some ideas – 

  • Advocate for mental health days – Even though university isn’t compulsory, there should be a way for people to put their absence down as a mental health day. This would allow for professors, teachers and tutors to keep a note of who is struggling. As well as allowing students to look after their mental health without worrying about being ashamed or trying to push through.  

Here is a video that explains how mental health days work within a school in the USA – Why should students have mental health days?  

  • Having a set time within lectures that allows students to get to know each other. For example, doing icebreaker activities at the start of each session for the first term of University. Ask questions to get to know someone’s hobbies, where they are from, why they are on the course etc so people can feel less lonely. 
  • Set up groups – Having groups that young people can go too to talk with each other about their struggles may help young people to be open about what they are going through. It will allow people to know that other people are there for them, that they aren’t the only person that is struggling and so on.   

Mental Wellness and the University Student | Jordy Decker | TEDxUBCO 

Overall, university mental health day is a day that represents the importance of students’ mental health. However, the talk about young people’s mental health within university isn’t just a conversation for one day. It should be a topic that should be a frequent conversation.