When I moved to York for my master’s degree in September, I came at a time when the city, and most of the country, were struggling with restrictions in shops and with how many people you could see. But for me, it was a little worse, I am a student with depression and PTSD.
When I was completing my BA in London, I was in contact with my tutors about any mental struggles I was having, and they were able to help with any work I missed. I was worried that York wouldn’t be the same. They may not have been as understanding or have as many resources available for me to use. I was pleasantly mistaken.
Within the first month of university starting, my mental health was taking a tip. I was stressed with course material and trying to sort out house issues. Also, I was getting a little depressed about not really seeing anyone besides my partner and housemate. I knew very few people in York and the people I did know were not returning until January because of COVID-19. So I contacted my lecturer and informed her that I had missed my lecture that week because I was feeling really down and couldn’t attend. She emailed back swiftly asking whether there was anything she could do to help, to let me know she was available to discuss it with me. She then sent me a link which was to the resources the university had for its students.
I began by going through the list of services. I recognised a few such as Samaritans and The Mix, both are services I used during my BA along with my therapist. They were extremely helpful.
The Mix is a service available to those under the age of 25 and provides essential services such as 1-1 chat and group chats to help with how you’re feeling and provide a great way to distract yourself if you would rather.
Samaritans are a provider of confidential support and are available 24 hours a day to listen and support you.
Then I found that the university has a service called Open Door. Open Door is a mental health service that university students can sign up to. It is a team of mental health practitioners who are able to provide psychological and mental health support for registered students. There’s a self-referral form to fill out, which could deter some students from applying for their help. However, the form itself is fairly simple. The questions asked include personal details such as your name, university ID and doctor’s surgery. Plus other questions about the psychological or mental health issue you are struggling with. The service is free. I, myself am going to apply to Open Door on my next day off from work.
You’re not alone
I recommend that any student who is struggling should feel comfortable to talk to their academic supervisor, lecturers or their college support team. Your lecturers are there to listen to any problems you have regarding your lectures and can point you in the direction of those who can help you further. My lecturer pointed me in the direction of Tom Metcalfe, the student experience and support officer for the History Department. Every department in the university will have a support officer who can provide one-to-one support for their students. There is support available for all students, all you have to do is reach out.
- Read more student blogs about support