Unmasking Student Mental Health: Q&A

Welcome to an extraordinary Q&A session dedicated to Mental Health Awareness, where we address some of the burning questions our alumni had to ask about mental health and well-being. But that’s not all! We reached out to psychology students from the University of Bristol, who, with the cardinal support of Creative Tuition Collective, have provided insightful answers to help shed light on various aspects of mental health. From forging invaluable connections to conquering the relentless challenges of student life, we’ve got our alumni covered.

Get ready for an engaging, enlightening, and fun-filled exploration of the mind and well-being!

Liam asks: What are some effective ways to manage stress and anxiety as a student? 

Students are exposed to high volumes of stress and potential anxiety every week, whether that be the result of large volumes of homework, relationship difficulties, financial pressures, exams or gaps in learning from Covid-19. So it’s integral to recognise when you’re becoming stressed in order to maintaining your well-being. So think about what your triggers are. For example, do you become more stressed in certain situations or environments? Around certain people? Do you find particular lessons and subjects more anxiety-inducing than others? If you feel comfortable, it can help to write down the scenarios where you notice yourself feeling more anxious. Some people find themselves feeling secondary emotions such as guilt, shame and embarrassment, and others notice themselves turning to anger or frustration. I mean, what feelings come up for you when you’re experiencing stress and anxiety? Perhaps, this anxiety or stress feels proportionate to the environment or situation you’re faced with? If so, can you reduce how often you interact with this environment or situation?

Answered by Charlotte

Leona asks: What are some effective ways of managing stress and anxiety as a student?

As a student, we are under an immense amount of daily stress and anxiety, and it is important to manage this in a healthy way. Personally, I find having a weekly or daily timetable/ planner as an effective strategy for time management as I can visually see what my day is going to entail. Organisation is very important in everyday life and school can feel very overwhelming especially during exam season, so I put together a plan to complete tasks which reduces stress as you feel accomplished within yourself that you have had a productive day. Anxiety can become an all-consuming feeling within ourselves so it is important to find ways to reduce such symptoms that work for you. I find that planning things to look forward to helps relieve anxiety as you can focus on achieving your goals and reward yourself as a result of being a good student. Also redirecting your mindset to be more positive is another healthy coping mechanism as it enables us to put things into perspective, so they don’t feel as bad as we feel they do. 

Answered by Jessie

Nothing beats the electrifying words straight from the mouth of a student. They’ve walked the same path, faced the same hurdles, and triumphed against all odds. So, why settle for anything less?

Nyran asks: What are some strategies for coping with homesickness or feelings of isolation while away at university?

For me and like for many other students, moving to university was the first time I had been away from home for such a long period of time. It can be really difficult especially if you move far away from your hometown. However, there are ways that you can deal with this transition of cope with feeling lonely. For example, making sure you keep regular contact with your family and friends from home is really important. Whilst at university you can get really busy and it can be easy to forget to check up on people when you’re wrapped up in your own life. Try calling a family member every day, even speaking to your parents/siblings for just 5 minutes can make a huge difference. Also, regularly check up on your friends, they’re probably feeling the same way if they’re also at university. 

I’ve also found that getting involved in societies can also help to combat feelings of loneliness. Making friends can be hard, but through joining societies you can meet people who have similar interests to you. Also, scheduling a time each term to visit your family can really help as it can give you something to look forward to. 

Answered by Zoe

Mental health is a topic that touches us all, so it makes sense to work together and share our knowledge and experiences with each other.

Caitlin asks: How do I focus and concentrate while studying?

I improve my concentration and focus by motivating myself with frequent short breaks. I find it very difficult to concentrate on work sometimes, especially when I have an assignment to do and I just can’t seem to focus. Usually, I put on a video from youtube with a pomodoro timer, where there’s a person in the video studying as well, so I know exactly how long to focus and when to take my study breaks. During my study breaks I like to go for a little short walk, because I feel like it keeps me feeling awake and refreshed when I come back to my work.

Answered by Tasha

Remember, you are not alone, and help is always available. Reach out to organisations like Mind or utilise resources provided by the NHS for further support.

Special thanks to the Creative Tuition Collective for bringing together diverse voices and shedding light on this crucial subject. You may not know, but their work provides essential support and resources for the mental health of young people in Bristol. They also do much more…

See exactly what they do, here…