May is International Mental Health Awareness month. As the rate of people suffering from mental health disorders increases, so does the importance of awareness. University students are one of the most at-risk and vulnerable demographics to fall victim to poor mental health.
We had a quick chat with Joanna Dale, a Student Advisor at the University of Sussex, about the University’s approach to Mental Health.
“I’m an advisor in the Student Life Centre, which is part of a wider Student Experience Team at Sussex University. The Student Life Centre supports students during challenging or difficult times which often affect their mental wellbeing. We want students to feel they can open up about their mental health and talk honestly about what they are going through.”
“We want students to feel like they can open up about their mental health”
“Sometimes students come to the Student Life Centre and have never spoken to anyone about their mental health before. That is a very important moment for them and we take what they tell us very seriously and listen carefully.”
“We take what they tell us very seriously and listen carefully”
“We talk with students about how they experience their mental health issues and what might help them. This can include other University services such as the counselling service, the specialist disability unit or the campus & residential team. We also signpost to a range of external resources in the local area and support students to engage with those services”
“We encourage students to develop their autonomy and find ways to boost their wellbeing and build emotional resilience. Fostering a culture of openness and acceptance around mental health is a core value in our work. We all need support at times and no one should feel they have to manage on their own.”
“No one should feel like they have to manage on their own”
“We want students to feel part of a community where we all care about each other”.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us Joanna, they are very kind words and I am sure that after reading this more people may feel inspired to finally open up about their mental health issues.
Joanna actually personally helped me last term at University when I was going through a particularly tough time, and she helped my friend very recently who was dealing with a death in the family. As a result of my meeting with Joanna, I was directed to University services which gave me extended deadlines due to my disorders and help gaining access to free counselling services.
At EduKUDU, we implore you to take care of your mental health when studying, which is why we have tried to make the most of Mental Health Awareness month.
Or, click here to read our top tips on coping with a mental health disorder at University.