The Mental Health series is aligned with GUCFS' partnership with the Scottish Association for Mental Health and our shared goals to open up a frank discussion about mental health on campus, and runs parallel to all of the events GUCFS is putting on this Mental Health Awareness week. The series will cover an array of different conditions and how to support friends living with them.
GUCFS’ choice of charity this year is incredibly important to me. The Scottish Association for Mental Health helps thousands of people deal with and talk about mental illness- something that has been stigmatised in the student community. Today I want to discuss something that I feel is often pushed aside: anxiety and how to deal with it when someone close to you is suffering from it. 1 in 6 young people are now afflicted with anxiety, so it’s more pressing than ever that we are open and willing to talk about it. In universities all over the UK counselling services are vastly oversubscribed due to the high demand of students needing their help. These are some of my tips, from personal experience, on how to support someone who is living with anxiety:
It’s incredibly important when dealing with a friend who is anxious, to also care for yourself; so don’t discount your own emotional wellbeing because someone else needs you to. When you are well, you’ll find it easier to help others cope. Your help can be invaluable to someone with anxiety and in a world where there is still a stigma surrounding mental health, a non-judgemental ear and willingness to speak openly is paramount.
Charities such as SAMH offer advice on dealing with friends afflicted with a myriad of Mental Health conditions, and try to explain what it is like to live with one, as well as actively helping thousands living with these conditions.
Here they have a PDF which will give you are greater understanding of Anxiety and Panic Attacks: https://www.samh.org.uk/media/448340/understandinganxiety.pdf
They also run numerous campaigns such as the ‘See Me Campaign’ which is working to end the stigma towards people who suffer from mental illness. This aims to inform people about the ability to speak out if you are facing stigma or discrimination in relation to mental health. Find out more about this here: https://www.seemescotland.org/