Here’s what you can do to protect your mental health as a Lancaster student

In lieu of World Mental Health Day last week

This Tuesday 10th October marked World Mental Health Day, an annual recognition of the importance of mental wellbeing. Since 1992, campaigners have fought to reduce the stigma associated with mental health, in favour of improving treatment and shedding light on a very real problem. World Mental Health Day is celebrated each year on the 10th October.

We all have a mental health and it is just as real and important as our physical health. The charity, Mind claims that one in four people will report a mental health problem in any given year in England. This year the focus of World Mental Health Day was on recognising that mental health support is a human right – we all deserve confidential and compassionate support.

University students are at a particular risk for mental health struggles, because of the combination of new academic pressures in an environment which is often unlike anything we have experienced before. This is a huge adjustment for most of us, so it is natural to have ups and downs.

Lancaster University is well-known for its dedication to pastoral support and concern for student wellbeing. The Associate Director for Student Wellbeing and Inclusion, Sabiha Patel, said, “I’d encourage all our staff and students to take some time to consider their mental health, and the support options available to them.” With College Advisor Teams on hand, and support from chaplains, mental health practitioners or even confidential student advisors within LUSU, there is always someone to turn to.

It is important that we all take time to reflect on our own health, particularly at the start of a new and exciting academic year.

Anyone can go to counselling or seek professional support if they want to – there are no prerequisites and all can benefit from it. Equally there are other, more subtle, changes we can implement to support our own wellbeing and that of others during this coming Michaelmas term.

We can make the most of the countryside here: Lancashire is beautiful and despite the rain, going outside every day and seeing daylight can really help to ground us. There are plenty of places to discover locally, such as Burrow Heights where you can see the sea, or the woodland walk around campus for a stroll in nature and a chance to check in with ourselves.

Humans are social creatures; we can and should work to forge friendships with others through societies and our courses. And kindness goes a long way. We are lucky to have campus cafes and sports clubs to engage with each other and our local communities.