Student Life and Mental Health
Student life can be challenging. You may feel lots of pressure to do well academically, or pressure to be sociable. You might be juggling your studies with other family or work commitments. Maybe you’re just starting your course or moving away from home for the first time.
It is important to understand how to look after your mental health as a student. This information is for students over 18 in higher education.
Studying is likely to bring a number of changes to your life. It can be enjoyable and interesting, but it can also be challenging.
You might face challenges such as:
- Meeting and working with new people
- Exams, presentations or deadlines for written work
- Managing your own finances
- Coping with homesickness and feelings of loneliness
- Balancing the demands of studying with other commitments, such as caring responsibilities or work
- Leaving home, finding new housing and living with new people
- Maintaining relationships with family and friends, especially if you have moved away from home
Coping with new challenges can have an impact on your mental health. But there are lots of things that you can do to make your time as a student easier and more enjoyable.
Some of the things that might make you more likely to experience a mental health problem as a student are:
- Stress – becoming a student can be a stressful experience. Although stress isn’t a mental health problem, it can lead to mental health problems like depression and anxiety. See our pages on stress awareness for more information.
- Lack of support – you might have left home for the first time, or just don’t have enough time to see your friends and family. Not having a good support network can make you vulnerable to developing a mental health problem.
You may already be living with an existing mental health problem and be receiving help and support for this. As you start life as a student you may find that your support changes location or you transition from CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) to adult services.
It’s important to continue your support if needed, become familiar with what this might be and how it will work while you are a student.
Common mental health problems for students
The following mental health problems are the most common among students.
Mind’s A-Z of mental health has more information about mental health problems, as well as a range of other relevant topics.
Anxiety disorders are one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health problems among students.
Anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid – particularly about things that are about to happen, or which we think could happen in the future. Anxiety can become a mental health problem if it impacts on your ability to live your life as fully as you want to.
See our pages on anxiety for more information.
Depression is another common mental health problem among students.
Depression is a type of mental health problem that involves having a low mood or losing interest and enjoyment in things. It can cause a range of other changes too, and if affects your everyday living.
See Mind’s pages on depression for more information.
Suicidal feelings can mean having abstract thoughts about ending your life, or feeling that people would be better off without you. Or it can mean thinking about methods of suicide or making clear plans to take your own life.
See Mind’s pages on suicidal feelings for more information.
Find out about Manchester Mind’s services for young people
Find out where to get support for your mental health as a student.