Comment: students need their mental 5-a-day
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Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week at Warwick University, with a number of engaging and inspiring talks being held by a range of speakers to raise awareness on a variety of mental health issues; from anorexia to suicide, personality disorders to depression. Whilst there is no doubt that this week of raising awareness was brilliant, I think we need to make maintaining student mental health a year-round focus. We need to make sure that students are getting their mental five-a-day, every day. The statistic that is widely published by government bodies and charitable organisations in regards to mental health is that a staggering 1 in 4 of us will be affected by it at some point in our lives, whether that be through experiencing health problems first-hand, or as a result of someone we know suffering. Many of the issues covered by the term 'mental health' may not be those traditionally associated with the problem: insomnia, excessive worry and irregular eating patterns can all be sympotms of underlying health problems. As stress is one of the key triggers for mental health problems, it should come as no surprise that during a stressful and busy time such as at university, many students will experience mental health problems. I am one of those people. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and say that. Or rather to sit down and publish it over the internet where, even more people will be to read this. During my life, I have suffered from anxiety, depression, and of course, stress; I have seen four counselors over the past seven years, and have a beautifully coloured box in my shelf filled with self-help books and information. These teach me about coping and cognitive behavioural therapy, and are there to use as and when I need them.
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