World Mental Health Day: Speaking Out
Today is World Mental Health Day.
Now that fresher’s week has come to an end and the excitement and anticipation of starting university has simmered down, many of you will be left feeling overwhelmed. Beginning a new chapter, in a new city with new surroundings while trying to make new friends, is bound to leave you feeling anxious. This time last year I was in the exact same position. The reality of moving away from home and starting afresh never really sunk in until my parents left for home and I was sat amongst my belongings in my new home.
As the next few weeks progressed I found myself doing all the ‘right things’; socialising with people in my halls, joining societies, attending socials and trying to get to know people in my lectures and seminars. However, despite my best efforts to settle in I couldn’t escape from an increasing sense of panic. I began to question everything, particularly whether I was actually capable of doing my degree and perhaps I shouldn’t have applied to university in the first place.
I racked up £180 in phone charges from ringing my mum at least twice a day, unable to go a day without getting upset and analysing every detail of university life. Then the day before we broke up for Christmas I finally decided to get some help. Having spent the night unable to sleep I went online and found that the university counselling service was holding free drop in sessions that morning. As I sat down in the chair opposite the counsellor I immediately burst into tears, only to be told that everyone that sits in that chair does the exact same thing.
While the drop in session with counsellor only lasted 15 minutes it certainly helped me to put my problems into perspective. I went home for Christmas with the advice I’d been given in mind and with the help of family in the comfort of my home environment I made the decision to stay at university. I can now say that that decision has hands down been the best decision I have ever made. As the new semester commenced I soon realised I had been tying myself in knots and allowing anxiety to distort my better judgement. Having now started second year I couldn’t be happier.
My reason for passing on this story on today of all days is to make people feeling the same way realise it’s okay not to be okay. While the university has its own counselling and mental health service as well as a student welfare service, there are other support facilities in Liverpool.
The Mersey Care NHS Trust offer an excellent free service called ‘Talk Liverpool.’ Talk Liverpool provides information and support for anyone suffering from common mental health problems such as feeling stressed, feeling low in mood (depressed) or very nervous (anxiety.) This help is offered in which ever way is best suited to you, whether that’s in person, over the telephone, online or through a range of different courses and workshops. All of the courses Mersey Care offer are available to anyone who is registered with a Liverpool GP.
Don’t suffer in silence, help is out there.
Listed below are the details of university’s and Mersey Care’s mental well being services:
Main Telephone number : 0151 228 2300
Address: 7 New Hall, Fazakerley, Liverpool, L10 1LD
Mersey Care self help guides:
University of Liverpool Counselling and Mental Health Services:
The counselling service is located at 14 Oxford Street (Building no 436, ref C4 on the Campus map).
The Mental Health Advisory Service (MHAS) is based at the Student Services Centre at 150 Mount Pleasant (Building no 502, ref D6 on the Campus map).