Coping with the stresses of university life
After you have passed through the initial euphoric stage of achieving your place in your further education college of choice, you may well by now be asking yourself some searching questions on how you can cope with this major upheaval in your life. You may find it exciting at first, but worries can creep in to make you question the way forward. Will you be able to keep up with the demands of studying and learning? With ever-increasing education costs, how will you survive life on a limited budget? Will there be a worthwhile job at the end of it all? All of this can be very stressful, and the mental health aspect of this way of life has not been recognised in the past the way many feel it should be.
In Manchester though, help may be at hand. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has described mental health as ‘the poor relation of the NHS’, with young people and students particularly badly served. He has pledged to make some significant changes: “We have a huge student population – more than any other city in the UK – and we need to do more to support them. The transition to university can be a tough time, with many people living away from home, family and friends for the first time. Students are poorly served when it comes to mental health provision.”
The Mayor has announced plans to help students by giving them better access to facilities, regardless of where they are studying or living. His plans include the introduction of a student GP passport that entitles them to keep the same GP through their college life and benefit from a ‘single pathway and hub’ to integrate services. Improvements will include the provision of consultation facilities via Skype and Fuze for all Manchester higher education students, with emphasis on areas such as eating disorders and other crises. He also said that universities and treatment providers would collaborate to ensure ‘trusted assessor status’, whereby students would not have to undergo repeated assessments.
If you’re finding life difficult, you’re certainly not alone. A recent survey by The Guardian showed that almost 87% of first year students are struggling to cope with the academic and social aspects of university life. It’s Andy Burnham’s intention to make Manchester a leading light in the provision of mental health services as an integral part of the ‘21stcentury NHS’. It’s nice to know that help will now be more readily at hand.