By Carmen Bryce, Communications Officer, MyMind Centre for Mental Wellbeing
Being a student can be a lot harder than we were expecting. People are constantly telling you that this is the best time of your life and how carefree they were in college.
Yet there can be lots of things to worry about and lots of challenges to our mental well-being along the way.
A new college experience can bring with it a lot of changes and upheaval – new faces, new routines (or lack of), new sleeping and eating habits, and new surroundings.
Student’s mental health is a growing worry. The number of college students seeking counselling has hit a record high, as mounting waiting lists take their toll on an already overstretched and under- resourced service.
If you’re stressing about an exam, anxious about money, or feeling isolated away from everything familiar to you, it can be impossible to believe that your college years are the ‘best of your life’.
Sometimes it might feel as if you’ve no idea what you’re doing, and yet you’re expected to make pretty big decisions about your future.
Everyone around you seems to have taken to this new way of life like a duck to water. It can feel as if you’re the only one not passing exams with flying colours, not being invited to parties, the only one feeling stressed, anxious, low or lonely.
Although it can feel as if you’re the only one not having the ‘time of your life,’ trust me, you’re not alone.
Everyone at one time or another struggles with mental health difficulties in some way or another and you shouldn’t feel ashamed or scared to ask for help if you need it.
Positive mental health allows us to enjoy life to the fullest and cope with the everyday stresses of life.
If you’re worried about your mental wellbeing, sharing the problem can be a big help. If you’re not comfortable talking to a friend or family member, you may prefer talking to therapist who can provide an objective and non-judgemental ear and help you work through some difficult issues.
Here are 5 reasons why it’s good to talk:
- It keeps your mental wellbeing in check. Just as you would go to the doctors if you had an ache or pain, talking to someone if you’re going through a tough time is really important. You wouldn’t walk around for days on a broken ankle before going to your GP, so why should you put off talking to someone if you’re worried about your mental wellbeing.
2. It will help you deal with future curve balls. Life has a way of throwing us a few unavoidable curveballs along the way. A good therapist can teach you the coping tools you need to be able to deal with tough times ahead. If you get very anxious during exam time for example, a talk therapist can teach you how not to get swallowed up by stress and can help you form a game plan to deal with these feelings.
3. It will help you identify patterns. We all sometimes do things we wished we hadn’t or repeat the same behaviour despite knowing it doesn’t make us happy in the long run. This could be losing our temper, flying straight to the negatives if something challenges us, or going back to a toxic ex. Talking through these negative patterns with a therapist over time can help us pinpoint and change the unhealthy habits that are getting in the way of happiness.
4. You know you’re not alone. Talk therapy is becoming more common as we’re more aware of minding our mental well-being. Seeing a therapist can be a huge relief and an empowering experience since you know you’re taking control of your life and well-being. It can also be comforting just knowing that this support is there if you need it.
5. You can learn about yourself. It can be a lot easier to spot and understand other people’s issues than our own. Sometimes it’s a case of not seeing the woods for the trees, but sharing our worries with a non- judgemental person can help us understand ourselves a lot more and begin to resolve the things standing in the way of our well-being.
If you’re a student, it costs only €20 for an appointment at MyMind, and you can talk to someone either face-to-face or online wherever you are. It’s easy to make an appointment – visit mymind.org for all the information you need.
MyMind Centre for Mental Wellbeing
076 680 10 60