So… In semester one I committed G-YOU to the task of talking about mental health in a way that makes it accessible to all. I realised the power of writing and reading about mental health issues in the process of helping to deal with working out what is going on in your own head. What I didn’t realise was this almost definitely was my subconscious telling me something wasn’t quite right. A month after I launched this section I was re-diagnosed with depression, or at least the black dog had reared its head again.
What many folks don’t realise is depression is not just feeling sad, or low, that is only a small part of the symptom list of depression. In fact, it is entirely possible to be depressed without that key trait of being ‘low’. Yes more often than not that’s the most noticeable symptom for those dealing with it, however, it is also the symptom that is near impossible to see in others.
While at university it is straightforward to become emotionally isolated and cut off from others, even when surrounded by groups of people in either societies or the pub. We no longer constantly have our family asking how we are and checking in on us after school as they did while we lived at home. This is why it is so important to look out for your friends, your flatmates, and your nine A.M. tutorial peers. The groups we are in at university are our new families, and as such, we need to keep an eye out for each other’s wellbeing.
So keep an eye out for these symptoms, and if you start to notice them in others maybe reach out to them!
Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
If your mate seems not to care anymore, seem to not see the point in university or taking care of themselves you may want to see how they are doing.
Loss of interest in daily activities
You may notice your friends no longer are taking part in activities with the same vigour as they once did.
Appetite or Weight Changes
Student-dom doesn’t always lend itself to healthy lifestyles, but fast weight changes are quite noticeable, though maybe tread lightly.
Is your flatmate walking around the flat at 3am? Is that odd or are they doing a last-minute essay?
Anger or Irritability
Stress plagues us all, but having a short-fuse is different, they may be getting annoyed at literally everything.
Loss of Energy
More than just feeling drained after a night out, this is a persistent state of can’t be assed. Self-loathing Are they being more self-critical? It may be dressed up as a joke, but may also be hiding something else.
Drugs and booze are easy to get your hands on at university, but these escapist activities may be a sign of something more than wanting a good time…
Nine A.M. lectures are hard, but if it seems your mates are constantly procrastinating and not able to meet goals or deadlines, then you may want to check in.
Unexplained Aches and Pains
These physical complaints can often stem from other non-physical issues unless there is an apparent reason for them you may want to reach out.
This watch list is only so you can be there for your mates and those around you, if you do find out somebody is struggling the best course of action is to get them to a GP or counselling appointment, as they know what to do!
-Owain Campton, Co. Editor-in-Chief