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How to Cope With Depression at University

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The number of students in the UK seeking mental health services has more than doubled in the past five years—as students battle against funding cuts, astronomical rent and tuition fees and a cut-throat graduate job market.

If you’ve ever struggled with mental health, you’ll probably know that anxiety and depression can be overwhelming. In some cases, mental health problems can even stop you from performing basic tasks, holding down a job or making plans with friends.

Because university shouldn’t feel like a snakepit, we spoke to the mental health charity Mind to find out about some of the ways you can cope with mental health problems at university. Here’s a rundown of some of their top tips.

Seek help immediately

If you, or one of your friends, is experiencing mental health problems, the best thing to do is ask for help. If you’re thinking of visiting your GP but feel a little nervous about putting your problems into words, Mind has published a really helpful guide on the subject. Also, don’t forget: you can also reach out to your university for help. It probably offers free therapy and a drop-in service, as well as a nightline if you need support throughout the night.

Download Emoodji on your smartphone

Mind recently launched Emoodji, a mobile app designed to give students a way of coping with their feelings and emotional wellbeing at university. The app provides tips on money problems, exam stress, homesickness and morale.

Talk to people who are in the same boat as you

One of the worst things you can do when you’re suffering from depression is withdraw and completely isolate yourself. It can be very tempting, especially if your entourage doesn’t entirely understand what you’re going through. Reach out to online communities like Elefriends to listen, share and be heard.

Keep well

When you feel tired, your worries can quickly blow out of proportion, so try to get enough sleep and cut out stimulants after 5 pm. Also, exercise! Even just 10 minutes of exercise a day can boost your mood, so join your student gym. Don’t neglect your diet. Eating the right foods can make you feel well generally, so try to get a good mix of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as slow-release energy foods like protein foods, nuts and seeds, oats and whole grains.

Try out complementary therapies

Most universities will have student societies organizing activities like yoga or meditation, which have proven benefits in reducing stress and promoting relaxation.

If you need to speak to someone, call Mind on 0300 123 3393 (or by text on 86463) or contact your university’s Nightline service.

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Written by Mathilde Frot
I'm originally French but I grew up in Casablanca, Kuala Lumpur and Geneva. When I'm not writing for QS, you'll usually find me sipping espresso(s) with a good paperback.

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1 Comment

Hi Mathilde :) this is very helpful, especially for students who are studying abroad.