Last Saturday was World Mental Health Day. The University has always had a tradition of it being a fairly high profile event, and those students who give up their free time to run it deserve some serious credit.
It’s incredibly good that we have it near the start of term, as the combination of moving into an unfamiliar place, leaving friends and family behind, and starting an entirely new life, can lead to feelings of profound alienation and loneliness.
We have moved on from the days where people with such issues are branded freaks, attention seekers and/or damaged. You should not feel ashamed, lesser or humiliated if you need to ask your friends for support or if on some days, you simply can’t cope and need to be on your own.
Equally, there is nothing wrong with admitting you do not know how to help your friend, feeling uncomfortable after being confided in, or feeling it is unfair that someone has opened up to you about something extremely serious. Sometimes the best thing you can do as a friend is listen.
The best way we can, as a group of peers, understand and deal with this issue is to treat it like any other health concern, giving whatever support we can, and understanding that there is nothing wrong, shameful or weird about suffering mental illness.