Yesterday was University Mental Health day and our social media feeds are full of posts about events going on around the country at different universities. AbilityNet is proud to support this day because we realise that mental health and physical health and equally important. Mental health is a vital part of achieving your full potential in higher education.
For many people, university is thetime of your life when you can move somewhere new and have lots of new friends and experiences. What could be better, right? But for a number of people, being a student isn't a happy experience.
Research carried out by the NUS in 2013 found that 92% of students had experienced some kind of mental health issue, which often includes feeling down, stressed and demotivated.
Of course, there are all sorts of pressures on students which can affect mental health. Coursework can be a huge pressure. I remember my third year being a blur of dissertation planning, tutorials and endless re-writing and editing.
Help for disabled students under pressure
I know a lot of my fellow students found it really difficult and AbilityNet is particularly aware of the impact this pressure can have ondisabled students. Imagine trying to write and plan a dissertation when you have dyslexia. Or the stress that you'd get from trying to use a keyboard if you have juvenile arthritis The physical symptoms of a disability may cause pain, but the mental health issues can be just as debilitating.
Many students don't realise that Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) can help with mental health needs. This is a grant (which you don¹t have to repay) that can pay for specialist technology and support to help you address specific conditions affecting your studies.
Having the right support in place can help manage stress and DSA funding can provide practical support which can help overcome the challenges. This could include technology which can make it easier to work effectively -ie digital recorders to capture lecture notes. This makes them much easier to access afterwards and can help deal with the pressure of keeping track of key information whilst under stress.
Where to find help
- Our guide to DSAs explains who is eligible and how to apply
- We also have a factsheet about how computers can help reduce stress
- Call our free helpline on 0800 269 545