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9 Tips For Dealing With Depression And Anxiety At University

We're here to help.

1. Know that you're not alone, and that it's not unusual to feel this way.

Flickr: uniinnsbruck / Via Creative Commons

"Students experiencing anxiousness or depressive feelings should know that they aren't alone and this isn't uncommon to feel this way, particularly at university, where pressure mounts quickly," Matthew Stinson, student wellbeing manager at the University for the Creative Arts and qualified psychotherapist explains.

If you're having trouble coping at university, you're probably not the only one. "So often students find themselves struggling in silence thinking everyone else is coping just fine, and that they are the only one finding things difficult."

2. As a first step, just talk to someone you trust.

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"The best thing is to talk to someone you trust about how you feel, be it a friend, family member, tutor, or a professional at your university," Stinson says.

If you don't feel comfortable with this, then there are also great student-run services available. "Nightline is an excellent service run by and for students, and they offer a listening service during term times overnight including phone, Skype, text, and email support."

"Student Minds is a charity that involves students and runs a number of initiatives like support groups and campaigns about healthy approaches to mental health at university."

3. If you're not sure, ask yourself: "Is the way I'm feeling impacting my daily life"?

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Certain feelings are natural, says Stinson. "If you feel low or are struggling, remember that it is perfectly natural to feel anxious or depressive – these feelings may last for hours or even days."

But if you find that those feelings are having an impact on your life, then you should reach out to a professional.

"If you find that you are feeling depressive or anxious for extended periods of time and this is having a serious impact on your life, that is perhaps the time to consider seeking help from a professional who can help advise you on ways to look after yourself and to begin to feel better."

4. Don't feel that you're not "unwell enough" to ask for help.

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"Don't leave things until they are at crisis – if you find things are a real struggle talk to a tutor or someone in student services to get support," Stinson says.

5. Use the campus health centre, but register with a GP too.

"Most universities have counsellors or wellbeing advisers who can offer emotional support or counselling. However, these services are often very popular, so it's not unusual for there to be some kind of wait to see someone," Stinson explains.

"So make sure you register with a local GP. It doesn't cross the minds of many students to register with a local GP at their uni until they are unwell physically or mentally, and this can create a real barrier to getting help from NHS services."

Also, if you have a diagnosed mental health issue make sure you let the university disability service know. "You won't be treated differently in regards to your studies, but you may be eligible to receive additional support."

6. Remember, counselling is just the first step.

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During the first counselling session, Stinson tends to "want try to understand what has brought someone to counselling – what is it they are experiencing at this time that has driven them to contacting the service and led them to ask for help?

"And so I would usually ask something along the lines of 'What is it that has brought you here today?'"

7. And it's a process.

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"It's important that anyone having counselling is prepared for the chance that they might actually feel worse after a session. Sometimes in counselling you might talk about things that are really painful or upsetting, or that you've been holding inside for a very long time.

"However, it can also be a massive relief to let go of things, or it might feel wonderful to have a cathartic moment where things come together. Equally, you may feel really flat and like nothing has changed.

"It's impossible to predict how you might feel after a session, but it's important to realise that whatever you feel, this is part of the process of getting to know and accept yourself."

8. So take little steps, and do things that make you happy every day.

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"Do little things that make you happy every day – listen to music you enjoy, go for a walk, meet friends for a coffee. This is as important as attending lectures and doing your assignments as it's about looking after yourself."

9. And celebrate every success.

"Celebrate the successes you achieve – even the little things, like getting out of bed and getting to that early lecture, or raising your hand and answering a question in a large lecture.

"And if you don't manage to do something as well as you planned, try to focus on what you have achieved instead of what you haven't."

(You can buy this print here.)

Always consult with your doctor about your personal health and wellness, including any recommendations you find online. BuzzFeed posts are for general informational purposes only, and cannot replace professional and individualized medical diagnosis, treatment, or advice.

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