Thursday 10 October 2019 is World Mental Health Day and is an opportunity for all of us to raise awareness of mental health issues and help to break the social stigma.
We all have mental health in the same way that we all have physical health and it can be that we are in good, not so good or poor health, mentally and/or physically. If we feel physically poorly we usually don’t hesitate to tell someone about it (our parents, friends or colleagues), but we can find it more difficult to share our mental health worries. However, if you do share your mental health worries you’ll often find a lot of people will understand and there are also loads of agencies inside and outside the University that are there to help. If you are very concerned about your mental health then one of the best places to start with is your GP (Doctor).
The NHS Your Mind Plan Quiz: answer five quick questions to get your personalised plan of simple ideas to help improve your mental health and wellbeing.
Help and support in the University, open during normal office hours:
The Students’ Union Advice Centre
The Counselling Service
The Disability Service
The Multi-Faith team (All faiths and none)
Help and support outside the University, open 24/7:
The Big White Wall: free to Bucks’ students an online support network for emotional health
The Samaritans: free confidential telephone helpline whatever you are going through
Supporting your friends and housemates
Supporting someone else with a mental health concern can be daunting but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes a friend will just need 'a good listening to', you don’t need to say much, and in fact you mainly just need to listen and to encourage them to talk. What they say may sound dramatic at first, but allowing them to 'let it all out' and really work through how they are feeling can help them calm down and get things back in perspective.
If it is more serious or a longer term issue help your friend get more support than just you. Show them this article, suggest the places they can go from the list above or offer to go with them. You may find you need help yourself while you are supporting them, in which case contact the agencies above yourself.
Look out for your housemates, especially if they are spending a lot of time alone or if their behaviour had changed. Offer them a cup of tea, start a conversation, ask them about themselves, help them integrate with the rest of the housemates. If you haven’t seen a housemate for a while knock on their door and check that they are alright. Having said this if you are going away for a few days it’s a good idea to let your housemates know you’ll be away and then they won’t worry about you needlessly.
Most importantly if you or someone you know is suffering from a mental health issue get help, talk to someone, start the conversation. Nobody needs to face mental health issues on their own.