Got a burning question about mental health difficulties? Want non-professional, peer-to-peer advice? Look no further, this feature will appear every month and invites readers to send in questions regarding mental health for tips and advice*. My name is Leanne and I have both specialist training and personal experience in mental health and will aim to provide user-friendly, non-professional advice to anyone who asks for it!
Q. My partner doesn’t know about my mental health problem, should I tell them?
A. I would always advise discussing any difficulties and worries with your partner, irrespective of whether it is regarding a mental health difficulty. I believe it is important to recognise that when we talk about our problems we can often find this therapeutic and feel reassured afterwards. It also allows us to discuss options that we can take in order to tackle the issue. It happens all too regularly that we as humans do not talk about our problems and let them build up, eventually these built up problems all spill out at once making it more difficult. By talking frequently and regularly about our issues we exercise a cleansing of our mind and enable ourselves to keep them at a manageable level.
Q. I’m feeling swamped under with uni work, I’m starting to struggle & it’s affecting my mood. What do I do?
A. Okay, firstly, breathe. It is ok. Your education is in your hands. Your health is in your hands. If you feel you need a break, or extra time, these things can usually be arranged. I would advise talking to your personal tutor about any worries you have regarding uni work and deadlines, there are options available to students. You can apply for extensions and deferrals which, in a nut shell, give you extra time to complete the work. This hopefully may help in reducing the pressure and stress we can all experience from deadlines and essay work! You can also utilise this time to talk to your tutor about your mood and how this is being impacted by your workload. I would also advise that if you feel your mood is becoming unmanageable you should contact a professional for advice.
Q. I’m really concerned about my friend’s mental health, they won’t talk to me!
A. Depending on the severity of the mental health problem and the risks attached to this, I would consider approaching a member of staff to express your worries and concerns. It might be worth approaching this plan with your friend first, but it is important to recognise that this could potentially aggravate things and therefore sometimes it is best not to do so. You could also get advice from your mutual friends, bearing in mind not to give out information about the person concerned. Of course, if there is very high risk then it is important to talk to someone quickly in order to address the situation in a timely manner.
Q. I’m pregnant and I’m worried about my mental state deteriorating. Do you have any advice?
A. Likewise with mental health in general, if you feel you are unable to control your mental health problem and you feel concerned about yourself then I would always advise talking to someone about this. That someone does not always have to be a professional, but it is advised if the severity of your problem is high. Health visitors and midwives are fantastic people to confide in, they should be able to get in touch with the correct people and offer you services appropriate for you. It may interest you to know that Student Life has a monthly perinatal mental health article which discusses a whole range of things that may concern mental health during pregnancy.
Q. I’m experiencing discrimination about my mental health disorder, how do I manage this?
A. This is very dependant upon the level of discrimination and who it is coming from. Not all people will feel confident to do so, but talking to the perpetrator may help. Discussing your troubles and the reasons for their actions might settle the problem. If this is not a suitable option you could approach the matter with your senior, this could be a lecturer, course-leader, or tutor. They should be able to sit down and discuss the situation with you. I just want to reinforce the fact that you should not be treated any differently just because you have a mental health disorder, discrimination is never acceptable. It takes courage to address situations like these and you should be proud of yourself.
How to ask:
Please send your questions to: [email protected]
*Please note not all questions will be answered, and all will be posted anonymously. If you are seeking urgent or professional advice, please see our contact list at the end of this sub-section.