This past week has been Mental Health and Wellbeing Week. Activities, fairs and talks have taken place in order to raise awareness of mental health and different ways to look after ourselves, including awareness for societies set up to support us.
According to Edinburgh University Students’ Association, 1 in 4 students struggle with their mental health each year. Breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness involves a fluctuation of individuals who would like to open up about their struggles and look for support. Despite being a positive response, as it means students are no longer suffering in silence, there is an insufficient amount of support provided by the University for these numbers. In 2018, 94 per cent of UK higher education institutions reported a demand for counselling support (Mental Health Foundation).
Currently, the University can provide only six free counselling sessions for students, and with private sessions starting at around £60 an hour, more funding in this area is imperative. The waiting period for an assessment session is up to two weeks, which in urgent cases IS too long a wait. An emergency referral system is crucial, official reports showing that in the 12 months leading up to July 2017, there were 95 recorded university student recorded suicides (BBC 2019).
What is there for me right now?
If you are currently struggling with your mental health there are many organisations, both within and outside of the university, to reach out to such as Edinburgh Crisis Centre (0808 801 0414) and the Samaritans (116 123).
Nightline is the student run mental health helpline open from 8pm-8am every night of term. They are an anonymous, non-judgemental service there to listen and offer support and information. Most commonly associated with mental health, Nightline is there to listen to anyone about anything at all.
Nightline Awareness Week begins on Monday the 18th of November and both Nightline and Friends of Nightline will be running events throughout the week to raise money and awareness for the service. On Wednesday the 20th of November, Nightline will be holding a film screening of It’s Kind of a Funny Story to promote awareness of the organisation and mental health in general.
Furthermore, Friends of Nightline will be outside of Main Library holding a bake sale so say hello and grab a sweet treat to get you through deadlines.
Finally, Nightline will be teaming up with ArtSoc for a Christmas craft making session on Saturday the 23rd in the Braid Room at Pleasance. Come along to get into the festive spirit!
Edinburgh University doesn’t currently have the funding to run a service of their own, but student run societies such as Nightline and WellSoc exist to support for others.
Nightline are open every night of term from 8pm-8am. With the prominence of mental health and wellbeing, please take care of yourselves and remember its absolutely okay not to be okay.
Nightline: 0131 557 4444
Image: Friends of Nightline