Everything that we choose to do is driven by a purpose. So why did we decide to start 27 Mind Miles?
Now well into our third year at university, we understand how difficult it can be to transition from the parental bosom to single student living. What’s more, this transition doesn’t only happen once when we first start university, but every September when we wave the comforts of our own beds, a clean house, and home cooked food, goodbye once more. Even for those of us who couldn’t wait to escape from the loving grip of our parents, this constant fluctuation, this disturbing unsureness of where to call home, can be detrimental for our general mental health and wellbeing.
We understand how stressful life can be to balance academic achievement, with not only making friends but maintaining them, but also with shopping and cooking and cleaning and managing money, while also leaving enough time for sleeping and showering. To some older people who have long forgotten the pressures of adolescence, this may seem facetious, but these are very real concerns that we all feel from time to time.
We understand how distant and removed worries about upcoming deadlines can seem from the agenda of the university. Sometimes we shout for help, we shout that three deadlines in one week is too demanding, but we feel like nobody is listening, that nobody cares. Trust us, as a connected student community with a shared need for an academic structure that fosters better wellbeing (not worse), we can make our voices heard.
These are merely a few examples of the stressors affecting students at the moment. With this blog, we will expand on the need to shift the perception of responsibility for maintaining good mental health from students themselves to the structures around them. Until that happens we can raise awareness of how you can easily alter the things you do day to day to boost your mental health. When that fails, which can be often, we want students to know where they can go for help when they need it most.
This drive for awareness and availability of services comes at a pressing time when mental health problems among young people have risen by 30% since 2000.
Now 27% of students report a mental health problem while at university.
Mind, Off the Record and other services available around Bristol can provide these students with the help they need, but not when they don’t know they’re out there. The negative effects of university life on mental health are much more far reaching than this statistic suggests though. Nearly half of students suffering from a mental health condition will not disclose it to their university. This fear of stigmatisation and discrimination by the people who are supposed to protect us and support our academic and personal growth, needs to stop.
The reality is that if we were able to effectively measure mental health fluctuations throughout our entire time at university, that figure of people suffering with mental health problems would be much nearer 100%. We may not all diagnose with a condition, or experience persistent effects, but we all have moments when we feel low or down and need those tools and support structures there and ready to help.
Through our blog, we hope to provides these tools and channels to access support structures to every student here at Bristol.