How to cope with student life

Explains how to look after your mental health as a student, suggests ideas for how to cope with the stresses of student life and gives practical tips on where you can go for support.

Your stories

14 ways to beat exam stress

Sam Edom, from our digital team, blogs about the best tips you've sent in for coping with exam time.

Sam Edom
Posted on 26/04/2016

Surviving Freshers week (and beyond) with depression and anxiety

Second year student George talks about dealing with depression and anxiety during Fresher's Week.

George Watkins
Posted on 16/09/2016

Surviving freshers – coping with mental health problems at university

Emma uses her own experiences to give tips about dealing with peer pressure and depression at uni.

Emma Wilson
Posted on 04/11/2014

About student mental health

This information was authored by Student Minds, in partnership with Mind.

Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity. They provide information on student mental health, deliver training in student-led peer support and run research-driven campaigns and workshops.

This guide aims to support you during your time as a student and provides useful tips and guidance, whether you are experiencing mental health problems or have done in the past, or whether you would just like more information on how to keep yourself healthy and well in your new student life.

Studying is likely to bring a number of changes to your life. It can be enjoyable and interesting, but it can also be challenging.

You might face challenges such as:

  • meeting and working with new people
  • exams, deadlines for written work or presentations
  • managing your own finances
  • coping with homesickness
  • balancing the demands of studying with other commitments, such as caring responsibilities or work
  • maintaining relationships with family and old friends
  • leaving home, finding new housing and living with new people

When I began university I’d been struggling with my mental health for years but had not got help, and starting university in a new city kick-started my path to diagnosis and recovery.

Coping with new challenges can have an impact on your mental health, but there are lots of things that you can do to make your time as a student easier and more enjoyable.

Students are at higher risk of developing mental health problems with research showing many people first experience mental health problems or first seek help when they are at university.

Some of the specific things that, as a student, make you more susceptible to mental health problems include:

  • Your age – a large proportion of students are under 25 and around three-quarters of adults with a mental illness have their first episode before turning 25.
  • Stress – becoming a student can be a stressful experience. Although stress isn't a mental health problem, it can lead to mental health problems like depression and anxiety. See our pages on managing stress for more information.
  • Lack of support – you might have left home for the first time, or just don't have enough time to see your friends and family. Not having a good support network can make you vulnerable to developing a mental health problem.

You may already be living with an existing mental health problem and be receiving help and support for this. As you transition to life as a student you may find that your support changes location or you transition from CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) to adult services.

It is important to continue your support if needed and become familiar with what this will look like for you as a student.

The tutors who I chose to open up to were supportive. As a result of asking for help I realised that with a few adjustments I would be able to finish my course, and nobody thought any less of me.

> Read Sophie's blog about learning to cope with anxiety and panic attacks at university.

> Read about how Max's mental health was affected by starting university.

 


This information was published in September 2018. We will revise it in 2021.


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