On Tuesday, 7 May 2019 our Student Counselling team will be hosting University Mental Health Day (UMHD) events at a number of CQUni locations. To tell us more about UMHD, we’ve asked new Counsellor Glenn Ross to talk about this year’s theme ‘use your voice’, and to share some advice for anyone struggling with mental health issues.
What is UMHD all about?
Uni Mental Health Day is about increasing awareness of the importance of the emotional wellbeing of both students and staff. Acknowledging and talking about the psychosocial challenges within our university environment helps to break down feelings of isolation and reduce emotional distress.
What kind of challenges are our students facing?
Navigating your way through University can be one of the hardest things anyone will ever do. Apart from the academic challenges, students often experience disconnection from their family and friends, self-doubt, loneliness, and financial pressures. International students are particularly at risk, as they also adjust to a new culture, language and environment.
Can you tell us more about this year’s theme, ‘use your voice’?
Bringing about change in the way we think about mental health is helped when we share our experiences. We all have mental health, we all have stories to tell, and these stories shape and influence our experiences. Giving voice to our stories allows us to connect with others, and fosters a deeper understanding of the ways in which we are connected as we journey through university.
What would be your advice to a student who is concerned about their mental health?
At some point, all students will experience thoughts and feelings such as stress, being overwhelmed, anxiety, self-doubt, frustration, and confusion. Academic demands, relationships, financial worry, homesickness, and expectations (ours and others) can combine until it becomes difficult to see a way forward. If a student is experiencing poor sleep and appetite, is missing classes, and is not really socialising, it may be a sign that it’s time to seek some help. I would invite them to come and speak with one of the student counsellors, either in person or via phone/video link. I would also suggest they make time in their day/week for activities they enjoy, to help balance out the demands they face with fun and relaxation.
UHMD Events are being held on Tuesday, 7 May. Event details are available on the Student Portal.