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Why I needed my school to prioritise mental health

  • 4 min read
  • 07 March 2019

Author: Laura

Topics mentioned: exam stress, school, alone and misunderstood

About: Laura explains how learning about mental health and wellbeing at school would've helped her cope better with exam stress and school pressures.

I wish there could have been a blog that I could’ve looked at during this time to make me feel less alone.

From my experience, mental health was not something that was spoken about often at school. I remember topics such as ‘healthy living’ and a ‘healthy lifestyle’ being discussed frequently.

However, information about how to live a mentally healthy lifestyle appeared to be overlooked. That’s why I’m writing this - I wish there could have been a blog that I could’ve looked at during this time to make me feel less alone.

How my mental health impacted my studies

My school didn’t really focus on the importance of mental health, so when I first began having some issues of my own, I felt lost and alone. The triggering point for me appeared to be my last year of sixth form.

There was the general pressure to do well in exams, to meet deadlines and to somehow keep up a social life at the same time. Although those things brought me stress, I wouldn’t say that they necessarily impacted my mental health to a high degree.

This was the problem I had; everything in my life seemed to be going well, so why was I so unhappy? These negative feelings became stronger and began to impact my studies.

I found it extremely difficult to focus in class and I stressed myself out even more as I didn’t think it was normal to feel this way. During this period, I really wish that my school had offered more guidance regarding mental health, as having someone or somewhere to go within school to discuss how I was feeling would have helped me greatly.

Having someone or somewhere to go within school to discuss how I was feeling would have helped me greatly.

Steps to finding mental health support

I remember that one day I just couldn’t take it anymore and I had to leave class as I was about to burst into tears. My friends and family tried to help, but I needed somebody else. I eventually went to the doctors to get help with how I was feeling, because I felt as though I’d ran out of options.

I think it’s important to realise that if you’re struggling mentally and your school doesn’t seem to have any support, look into your options more closely – your school may have a support system, it may be that you're just not aware of it. If they don’t offer anything, trust me you’re not alone and it is extremely normal to feel this way.

If you find that there is no help, the next step would be to talk to family or friends and ultimately, a professional who can instruct you about which steps you can take.

Schools need to educate students more on the importance of mental health; everybody struggles with it so why should it be overlooked?

Everybody struggles with mental health, so why should it be overlooked?

More information and advice

We have tips and advice to help you find the support you need. Take a look at our guides.

Where to get help

However you're feeling, there are people who can help you if you are struggling. Here are some services that can support you.

  • Student Minds

    Supports students to look after their mental health by providing information and advice.

    They also provide details about local services offered by universities and information on how you can access support group programmes.

    You can call or email for more information (this is not a helpline).

  • The Mix

    Free, short-term online counselling for young people aged 25 or under. Their website also provides lots of information and advice about mental health and wellbeing. 

    Email support is available via their online contact form.

    They have a free 1-2-1 webchat service available during opening hours.

    Opening times:
    4pm - 11pm, Monday - Friday
  • Childline

    If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.

    Sign up for a free Childline locker (real name or email address not needed) to use their free 1-2-1 counsellor chat and email support service.

    Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.

    Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.

    Opening times:

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