4th of February is Time to Talk Day organised by Time to Change to counteract the stigma which unfortunately still surrounds mental illness. But that shouldn’t just be reserved for one day a year. Now, a week later, we should still be talking. To this day, many people find this subject too awkward or simply to difficult to speak of, and this of course does not help the matter. But it is time to face the facts however difficult they may be. And the fact is that 1 in 5 students consider themselves to have struggled some form of mental issue throughout their time at university, while many studies suggest most of us will have to battle a mental illness some time in our lives. Taking this into account, I think it is time to stop treating mental illness as if it wasn’t relevant to us personally; if it won’t happen to us, it is very likely to happen to someone we love or care for. Mental illness is real and it is all around us. But the good news is, people can get better!
Of course many factors can add to such an illness developing, especially at University. Although the whole experience is great and overall so positive to our lives in general, it can be daunting to live with strangers, have an irregular schedule, be away from family and probably live on a low-quality diet. It can make us more vulnerable to mental issues, but it is not something that cannot ever be overcome.
I truly believe that recovery from mental illness could be achieved quicker if we had no barriers and no inhibitions in this subject. The more we talk about it, the more normal it will become. To get rid of the fear surrounding mental problems would, in a sense, be half the battle for those suffering. It’s something we will all have to face is some shape or form, so let’s just face it together, not alone.
If you find yourself suffering, remember you are not alone. Consider speaking to your GP or our University’s Mental Wellbeing Service, or even just a friend. You might discover the way you feel isn’t as rare as you think!