We seem to hear it all the time these days – conversations about mental health, the importance of asking each other if we’re okay, proclamations that it’s okay to not be okay and that there’s no shame in talking about it. And yet, despite all this and the prevalence of mental health issues in modern society, talking about our mental health remains extremely difficult.
‘It’s as simple as asking someone how they are – asking because you are genuinely concerned and want to be there for them,' says Sarea Bhar from the University Psychology Society.
‘Many people who are experiencing mental ill health refrain from talking about their emotions…making them feel like they are not alone in this and that they have support is a start. Sometimes just being there for someone can help a lot, even if there may be no exact conversation.’
Waner Zhengguan, from the Batyr executive, agrees, and with mental health issues being almost ubiquitous among today’s youth, Waner thinks that people should not be afraid to talk about their issues, as almost everyone will be able to relate.
‘Be real to your feelings. The answer to the question “How are you?” does not have to be “I am fine, thank you.” What is the point of saying “I am fine” when you are not? Please remember: You’re not alone.’
The University is committed to improving mental health support options available to students, which is why we have initiatives like University Mental Health Day. Uni can be a high-pressure environment, and on top of all the other pressures students face in their day-to-day lives, Sarea and Waner strongly agree that mental health should be a University-wide priority.
‘In the midst of our hectic lifestyles, we tend to not give our mental health the attention it deserves. I also believe that people set unrealistic goals and are extremely hard on themselves, completely ignoring their wellbeing, which is why I want to normalise mental health as a priority,’ says Sarea.
I experienced the breaking down of my inner peace for the very first time as a student...I do not want others to have to go through the same thing.
‘I experienced the breaking down of my inner peace for the very first time as a student,’ shares Waner.
‘I was so sad, so lost and so hopeless. It is a nightmare and it lasted hours, days, even weeks. I do not want others to have to go through the same thing.’
Luckily, thanks to passionate people like Waner and Sarea, if you are experiencing something similar, there are ways to cope and get through it; even if you feel like there’s nothing that could make you feel better, there are still places and people you can turn to for help.
‘People turn toward different things when it comes to maintaining their mental health – things that make them happy; whether this is spending time with loved ones, exercising or simply taking a break. However, I believe that these techniques can sometimes be temporary solutions. Speaking to someone can help with concrete progress,’ Sarea advises.
‘Opening up gradually about how you feel will not only make you feel better, but will also allow the person you confide in to understand your condition better and guide you towards seeking professional help.’
Waner echoes these sentiments, but adds that even if you don’t have anyone you feel you can talk to about your issues, that doesn’t mean you have to suffer alone.
‘Others may not understand exactly how you feel, but you’re not alone. Please search up ‘mental health support’ in your browser and have a chat with a qualified service provider of your pick. You can talk to a stranger or a trusted one. But please do not hesitate to talk as there are people who actually care about you.’