Your mental health, from your alarm in the ‘am’ to closing your eyes at night, is so important to your day, your assignments, your relationships with other people in college and managing the daily stresses that come up for us all. It needs to be looked after just as much as our nutritional or physical health!
Any combination of things can affect your mental health, from the foods you’re eating, to your exercise levels, time management, workload, or what’s happening around you with friends and family. A sharp increase in the number of young people with depression and the suicide rate as a result of mental health issues is absolutely one of the more pressing issues we are feeling in today’s society. Here is a quick guide to how you can help someone who is depressed and also where to find help if you or somebody needs it.
It’s important to remember that depression has many meanings and just because you’re feeling depressed doesn’t mean you’re suffering from clinical depression. You should not self- diagnose yourself with a mental illness.
Signs of depression include:
- Feeling hopeless or helpless
- Lack of energy and feeling empty or anxious
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- Crying a lot, feeling agitated, or losing temper
- High use of Alcohol or drugs
- Withdrawing socially and losing interest in things they once enjoyed
- Headaches or stomach aches
Eating well and being active- taking care of your physical health impacts positively on your mental health. Even though you might not feel like it, exercising and eating well can help when you’re feeling down.
Writing down your feelings- this is one that always helps me! Writing can be a great way of understanding your emotions, their triggers and a specific situation.
Taking time out- me time! It’s a good idea to try and take a bit of each day to do something you enjoy. When you’re feeling down it can be hard to motivate yourself but try to make a list of things you enjoy.
Talk to someone- although it might seem hard, sharing how you feel with someone you trust can help you see alternative ways of thinking about a problem, and help to make you happier in general.
Anxiety is what can happen if stress takes a hold of us, which can happen to us all at various times.
It is important to organize and prioritise your workload and to reach out and talk to people about what is going on in your life. Here are a few tips to deal with anxiety:
- Organize and prioritize your workload
- Distraction techniques- focusing on your breathing is a great one.
- Take yourself out of the stressful situation and revisit it after a break e.g. music or a walk
- Set realistic goals- set yourself realistic goals for your day ahead, and then for your week, if you are successfully achieving your daily goals e.g. Do 45mns of exercise in the gym, return book to library, attend lectures. It can be that simple.
- Be assertive- think of yourself: learn how to say ‘no’ if you’ve too much on!
- Always have something to look forward to each day- no matter how small it is do it!
Talk it out!
Please remember that talking is a sign of strength, not weakness! Myself and the MSU team are here for you and wouldn’t be here without you. If you need us: visit, call, text, ring or email us!
Other resources include:
Call a helpline- if you feel you’re having difficulty talking to people you know or when you need to talk to someone outside of office hours. Services include Samaritans on 116 123 and NiteLine on 1800793793
Talk to a GP or counsellor- sometimes people don’t feel comfortable talking to someone close. The counselling and health centre on campus maybe an option.
There are great supports on campus who are here to help you out. Reach out and make an appointment.