A Guide To Mental Health For New Students

Managing mental health for new students is an important step to succeeding in school, and to finding joy in life. Here's what to know

James Wilson
April 9, 2020
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There are many worries and challenges for any young person heading off to college or university for the first time. A new student could be particularly vulnerable to mental health issues, and it is good practice to prepare yourself if you are about to start your first university semester. It’s important to consider how mental health is something that everyone should be mindful of, and seeking any help is not a weakness. This guide to mental health for new students will give you an idea of what to be mindful of, and some tips to stay mentally healthy.

Be Prepared for a Transition

Be prepared for this to be a transition. In the majority of cases, this is going to be your first time living away from home unless you attended a boarding school. Try and familiarize yourself with where you are going to be staying where possible. If it is on-campus accommodation, you should be able to visit and tour before your matriculation date. If you are staying in private, rented student accommodation, then maybe see if you can get a lease to begin a few weeks before and stay a night or two per week to acclimatize to your new surroundings gradually. It is good to take your time and keep your links with home active, phone home, message your friends, things that are familiar will help with this period.

Don’t Overindulge

You will have a lot more freedom than you have previously been used to when living in your family home. This will bring with it many opportunities, but also a wide range of temptations as well. It will be expected that you will take advantage of all the opportunities presented to you. Still, it is useful to be aware of the problems of overindulging in alcohol or drugs can bring. Some of us react better than others to these things. If you feel you are vulnerable to depression or addiction, then it may be useful to limit your behavior and seek professional help if necessary. For many, drinking and partying are intertwined with student life, but this is not the case, and those who don’t follow this lifestyle will do much better academically.

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Check Out Your School’s Facilities

The academic performance and reputation of an educational institution are not the only factors by which you can judge a university. What student support it can offer can also be vitally important. You should consider if they have an excellent counseling service in case you should ever need it? It’s easy to look up and compare universities in London for such things. Even knowing what kind of doctors’ office is essential when feeling out if a place is right for you can be a great idea. The school set-up and general facilities are also important. Is it a place that you will feel comfortable studying? If you do not have a good impression of the facility, then it may prove difficult to live and study there, and this can only harm your mental health and overall achievement.

Have a Coping Strategy for Pre-Existing Conditions

If you are already in the course of treatment for any mental health condition, then it is of vital importance to book a session with your psychologist to discuss coping mechanisms for the upcoming transition. They may well need to transfer your case to a local practitioner, and you will maybe have already chosen this new professional. You should be aware that you may need extra support, including changing medications or doses of these, if necessary. Be mindful that you may not find the best psychiatrist for you at first; they must be the correct fit for you as well as being suitably qualified. This shouldn’t be thought of negatively, students with all sorts of health conditions transfer into a university all the time. If you are accustomed to being given help with exams and assessments such as extra time, then you should ask if this will be honored by the university as well.

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Remember to Eat Well & Exercise

As well as dealing with mental health challenges, it is also essential to look at preventative measures to avoid falling into poor mental health. As with anything in life, prevention is always easier, and preferable than the cure. This is also usually cheaper as well. The principal methods of achieving this are to eat well and exercise regularly. It can be surprising how much this can lift your mood and can be a positive release keeping you away from more unhealthy ways of using your time such as drinking etc. Doing things that relax you and make you feel settled will do your mental well-being a world of good and can help you achieve your full potential in anything you do.