I have been having an incredible experience at university – I still maintain that choosing to come to the University of Leicester was the best decision I’ve ever made – but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t bad days. I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with my mental health for the past few years and, although it’s been pretty good at university, it’s been harder, recently. I’m in my second year – I know how the washing machine works, how to take good notes in a lecture, and what bus in Leicester goes where, but I am still learning to balance university life, social life and work life alongside the bad days.
The first thing I want to flag up, for anyone who may be going through a similar process, is that you are never alone. I have been fortunate enough to find friends who try to help me in any way that they can, and I have a strong family base that knows what I can get like, and who know how to help and soothe me. But, sometimes, if you’re living away from home, a bad day can make you long to run back home away from it all, for a while. I know I’ve felt like that before and, so long as you won’t be missing anything too vital, I’d encourage that. Take a break, when you need to. Mental rest is as important as physical.
But there are other people to support you, too: universities provide educational support and guidance, but they are also there to help you mentally, or psychologically, when you need them to. The University of Leicester has excellent services to provide support for those who need it: there is the Student Services, a specific branch of university offices, dedicated to ensure the well-being of the students. It has a Counselling and Welfare section, which anyone can access, simply by submitting a form online. Sessions of 50 minutes are available and, although the waiting list isn’t ideal, the service itself is excellent. Their office is located in the Charles Wilson Building, on campus.
I found that Victoria Park Health Centre was another great service, for offering different solutions and advice that helped. They’re pretty prompt with seeing you, too, whether you need to speak to the pharmacist or a doctor, and you can contact them via: 0116 215 1105. Located in Victoria Park, next to the university, it’s also not miles out of Leicester, so it’s easily accessible, too.
Another option for assistance, if you’re feeling low or struggling, is talking to someone impartial over the phone. There are two services which provide this: Samaritans, or Nightline. The Samaritans is a voluntary group across the UK, which you can ring at any time, to talk anonymously to someone about anything: 116 123. Or, for the Leicester Samaritans, you can call 0116 2700007. On the other hand, Nightline is a phone service created by students, for the students – it is a service which runs from 8pm to 8am, and you can text or phone anonymously during this time, to talk to a student about whatever you want. The number for this is 0116 2231230.
During my low days, I tend to crawl into a place of solitude which I struggle to come out from, preferring to remain by myself in my sorrows. But this really doesn’t help my mood, and often makes me feel worse than I already did, which is why I think it’s so important to have a support network around you – or somewhere you can go to, or talk to, when everything gets too much. In this blog, I hope that anyone who has the same experience feels that they can receive assistance, in whatever form it may come, and that people know: you are not alone.