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Starting university is a major change for any young person, and although it creates so many exciting opportunities it can also be overwhelming. 95 per cent of ‘higher education institutions’ reported an increased demand for counselling services, but we must ask - why is this?


The main issue that's been shown to cause the highest amount of stress amongst students is the academic pressures of university. A study done by ‘Unite Students’ has shown that 71 percent of students felt that ‘preforming well in tests and coursework caused them stress’ and 65 per cent felt stressed trying to keep up to date with coursework. This coincides with the graduate job market becoming more competitive, with fewer availabilities for the total number of students graduating. This makes it the second highest stress of university with 39 percent of students stating that they felt stressed about job prospects. There is also the added pressure of making sure that students come out of their degree with at least a higher second-class honour, with 70 percent of graduate employers only taking applicants with these grades.


The financial burden of university is another factor which students face, this is a different issue of which was not as prominent in past generations. In a ‘Unite Students’ survey 41 percent of students reported that they were feeling ‘very of fairly concerned with being able to pay back loans’, with 48 per cent of these students being from a lower socio-economic background. However, three quarters of students will never fully pay back their loans. Many students tend to struggle with managing their own finances for the first time.

A poll conducted by ‘HSBC’ showed that one fifth of students managed to spend their loans in the first one hundred days of receiving it, with an average student spending three fifths of their loans in the same amount of time. Another survey conducted by ‘Save the Student’ showed that 60 percent of students did not feel that their loans were enough in order to live on, with 46 percent admitting that the worry of money negatively affected their mental health.


The stigma associated with mental health is something that universities desperately need to address. This is especially prominent with men, who are three times as likely to disclose a mental health concern but also twice as likely to die from suicide than women. There is also the issue with students that when they move away from home they feel as if they are losing their support system such as a regular GP, friends and family.

This is an issue as it affects the continuity of care that vulnerable students might need. ‘The NHS is not set up to support students as they move between home and university’, this is demonstrated through the fact that students cannot yet register with two GPs.


Although there are areas where universities need to change in terms of support for mental health and wellbeing, the biggest issue is with the NHS and its ability to cater to the needs of students. 

16-25-year olds are the most vulnerable age range to develop mental health issues and with 64 percent of the student population falling under this category more support needs to be available. The time for change is now.

[Words by Jade Adams]

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Can seeking solace in casual sex help mental health issues or cause you more grief?


The act of engaging in sexual intercourse with someone we hardly know or are not committed to being in a relationship is what is broadly termed as casual sex.

With increased technology, connectivity and modes of “social connection”, depressions and loneliness has also increased by leaps and bounds. While some people may turn to a glass or bottle of Vino, others quite often seek solace in casual sex. Indulging into this kind of activity, can have some serious ill effects that can leave a person both physically and mentally broken.

Casual sex and its impact on physical health:


When you engage into casual sex, your chances of contracting a sexually transmitted disease is increased -  You are totally and completely unaware of the other persons medical history. If that person has a disease, it might get transmitted to you sexually and you have no way of knowing it. Thus, casual sex can prove to be extremely detrimental for your physical health.

Unprotected casual sex can lead to various kinds of problems. It can even result in an unwanted pregnancy. Engaging in casual sex can also pose a threat to your own physical safety. When you are agreeing into a sexual liaison with a person, you do not know much about them. They may have an alternative or inappropriate motive. However, the mental side effects of casual sex are far more detrimental and toxic which needs to be seriously dealt with.

Casual sex and its impact on mental health:


The thing with casual sex is that it cannot bring you the fulfilment that you desire. Sex is not just an act of procreation for social animals like human beings, but rather it demands for an emotional connection as well. This is something that one cannot get out of any casual sexual interaction. And this is always bound to create mental dissatisfaction and a feeling of being incomplete. This in can affect someone’s psyche in the long run.

A lot depends on what kind of a position you are in your life when you engage in these interactions. Suppose you engage into casual sex during your student life, you never know but it might end up affecting your career, since you might get into an unwanted pregnancy or any other complication that you had not foreseen. When it comes to a work place situation and if you engage into a casual sexual interaction with a colleague you never know how it might come back to bite you later.

There is not always the guarantee that a sexual interaction will be casual for you or the one involved. It just might be that you or the other person get involved into it so much that you want it to blossom into something more than that, but the feeling does not get reciprocated. You might be clear from your end that you are not interested in something serious and the other person might agree, but they might not always feel that way. So, it is best to always avoid situations like this which have the possibility to give rise to future complications.



Overall, until and unless, casual sex is something that you are very comfortable with, when it does not mess with your moral sensibilities or if you have accepted it to a part of your daily life, then only can this be treated as something that is not going to harm you mentally.

The risk of physical harm remains, no matter what. A lot of people engage in casual sex or even flings as a measure to cure loneliness or even look at it as sort of an adventure but considering the pros and cons and its ill effects, this is an area best not explored.

[Words by Meshanda Cyrus]

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London South Bank University takes steps in the right direction for student wellbeing with mental health in mind.


University should be a fun and exciting time for students and LSBU provides the right support for students to be able to ‘excel in your studies and thrive in all areas of your life’.

University in the city can be a demanding time for students, not just in terms of studies but there can be an array of challenges within your personal life. LSBU understands this and delivers the different kind of support that each student might need in order to get the most out of their time at university.

Within the university’s wellbeing team there are an array of services available to cater to the needs of students.

For those who simply need someone to talk to about worries or concerns there is a fully equipped team, providing a ‘confidential and safe space to talk’. These can be provided through either face to face or over the phone on a Monday-Friday basis. Outside of this there are online resources available on a 24/7 basis, providing access to an online support platform that the university uses called ‘SilverCloud’. And there are also plenty of wellbeing workshops and events happening all the time across the university’s campus.

Depending on the type of student you are there are different ways to contact the wellbeing team. For those who have applied to study at LSBU and feel you would benefit from a pre-enrolment meeting on mental health and wellbeing prior to starting you can contact the wellbeing team at ‘studentwellbeing@lsbu.ac.uk’ or on 020 7815 6454.

For current students the student centre always has open doors and there is information available 24/7 on the student portal ‘MyLSBU’. The student centre has a vast collection of leaflets and wellbeing information packs, which may also be helpful.

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The sudden death of Love Island star Mike Thalassitis raises questions about mental health support offered to reality stars following the show.


The 26-year-old reality tv star best known for his appearance in Love Island in 2017 was found dead in a north London park on Saturday. Police confirmed that his death is not being treated as suspicious.

Thalassitis's death came after his grandmother, who he had been taking care of, died just two days earlier. Many Love Island contestants opened up to Twitter about the lack of attention being paid to the mental health of the contestants despite a psychological evaluation being carried out before and after the contestants go on the show.

Reality shows such as Love Island have come under harsh criticism on twitter with one user tweeting “Mike Thalassitis killing himself, the second love island suicide. These incidents make you start to consider if throwing ‘ordinary’ people into sudden ‘fame’ and spotlight is healthy?"

Do these people understand the implications when signing up to these shows?

UK Government Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was "very worried" about the mental health support provided to reality TV show stars. In a statement, ITV said the show's medical support will "independently review our medical processes on Love Island."

They continued their statement by stating "This review has led us to extend our support processes to offer therapy to all Islanders and not only those that reach out to us. And we will be delivering bespoke training to all future Islanders to include social media and financial management."

[Words by Sintija Gerucka]


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Is there a stigma surrounding male mental health? 


Just over three quarters of suicide victims are men, that is a fact that is known quite widely in society. So, if that figure is so prevalent, why do only 9% of men seek mental health diagnosis, compared to the 15% of women.

The stigma surrounding male mental health is one that has, in fact become a silent killer. With suicide being the biggest killer between men aged 18 - 45 and yet, the mental health of men is still not spoken about. The basic answer to the basic question, that question of course being “why?”, is that men in society may still find it hard to talk about their feelings, and might find it hard to indeed go and open up about how their feeling. But this is a real issue, especially for men in the city and the LGBTQ community. Not being able to accept yourself is just a block in the clogs of all the things that will in turn make you feel mentally okay. It is understandable that there is a stigma, and for those who can't seek out help, there are simple things that men can do adjacent from seeking help.


Eating well


The first small thing that you can do to try and make yourself have more of a positive mindset, making sure you’re eating well and regularly will make the difference with how you feel, even by a small amount.

Sleeping well


Trying to get at least the minimum amount of sleep you can, being about 6-7 hours, ensures your brain functions work to their fullest and keeps your brain activity healthy, so try and sleep!

Hygiene


A change of hygiene is one of the first signs of the decline of mental health. So try to keep hygiene up, washing regularly just to keep yourself feeling clean and somewhat relaxed.


Although these things are small, they could make the difference. Taking small steps to recovery, while waiting to be seen by someone that is a professional, is just the small thing you can do in order to make sure you’re keeping yourself as happy and comfortable as possible.


[Words by Daisy Prince]
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Many people still believe that not enough is being done in the terms of facilities for mental health services, especially for young people. 



The Guardian's research however suggests that this is from a small handful of hospitals with “outdated” information and statistics, causing doubt to be cast over the original claims.

The reality is that in just London alone, the number of mental health beds has risen 25% since 2017. What the NHS are planning to do in the future is to extend the support that people can get to outside of the health sector. New initiatives for mental health services in communities are to be put into place, suggesting that the baton of mental health services is being passed on to the people closer to home. Its suggested in the next 4-5 years, 345,000 more children and young people will have been helped each year, suggesting an almost impossible number thinking about what the mental health situation was just a few years ago.

The health sector now focusing on waiting times, staff and patient communication and also access to these services are some of the factors that the NHS has previously highlighted. Is it true that the country now has a grasp on the ever-growing problem of mental health services in the UK? No, but a major improvement has been seen over the previous years and now making not only mental health services but also facilities that tackle this problem more accessible to young people.

According to the parliament website, a staggering 1 in 6 people now experience depression and bipolar or something adjacent to. The number of people speaking out about this problem is also increasing, so hopefully in the future, with the steps that the NHS are planning to put into place, such as better community centres and an increased funding in art programmed the problem can revised and tried to be avoided. All that is known now is mental health services are improving, especially for young people, now it is just the conversation and stigma that needs to be normalised so more can speak out and feel comfortable to do so.

[Words by Daisy Prince]
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Suffering from mental health issues can often make you feel like you’re alone or helpless. It can be difficult to reach out for help whether that would be help from your doctor or friends and family. So, here is a list of organisations and helplines which you can reach out to in times of need.


Mind
Mind offers help and information to people who suffer from mental health issues.
Phone 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm)
Website www.mind.org.uk

Samaritans
Volunteers who offer confidential and emotional support to anyone experiencing distress.
Phone 116 123 (24 hours a day)
Website www.samaritans.org

Mental Health Foundation 
Provides support and information to anyone suffering from mental health issues or learning disabilities.
Website www.mentalhealth.org.uk

CALM
CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably leading a movement against suicide, which is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45.
Phone 0800 58 58 58 (7 days a week, 5pm to midnight)
Website www.thecalmzone.net

YoungMinds 
Information on child and adolescent mental health. Offers services for both parents and professionals Phone (a helpline for the parents) 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4pm)
Website www.youngminds.org.uk

Together
Supports people through mental health services.
Phone 020 7780 7300
Website www.together-uk.org
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