The start of a new semester is here, and for a good few of us at Concrete this means our final semester at UEA. Whichever year of study you’re in, the drawing to the end of the academic year is often stress-inducing, whether this be due to essay deadlines, exams or up-coming pressures.
This issue, Concrete has an over-arching theme which focuses on different areas of mental health. It often seems paradoxical that universities, which are renowned for open-mindedness and acceptance, are not always the most understanding places when it comes to mental health.
20% of students reported to the NUS in 2013 that they suffered from mental illness, and that is only those who felt comfortable enough to be open about how they felt. These statistics in themselves are worrying, but it goes even further when you discover that only one in ten of those people had sought help from their university, and a quarter seeking help elsewhere.
Therefore, we felt that giving UEA students the chance to give a first hand account of their experiences with mental health and write about what they wanted to discuss, was an extremely positive step.
This builds on a big focus this year on mental health on campus here at UEA, with societies such as UEA Student Minds, Operation UEA, Headucate and Norwich Nightline taking massive steps to support students who suffer from mental illness, as well as educating the wider student body about mental illness and removing stigma.
Fortunately, the situation in universities across the country is improving, and whilst there are still many challenges faced, universities and students are beginning to challenge the stigma, and start talking about mental illness.
If you feel like you might want to speak to someone about mental health, there are lots of places you can go on campus for help. At the union you have the Advice Centre, which is based at the Welcome and Information Point in Union House, whereas the university can provide support through the Dean of Students’ Office and the Counselling Service. As always, you can always speak to your academic advisor or GP too!