It is a well-documented fact that students are under more and more pressure to succeed and this can bring with it a number of challenges. All the way from the very first GSCE mocks right up until final year degree examinations, young people are subjected to an enormous amount of expectation and this, in turn, can present itself as student anxiety.
Although these pressures are seen by many to be character building and all part of the university experience, it can be only to easy to trivialise mental health. As we have covered here at the Collegiate website before, getting help with mental health should not be viewed as a taboo subject and there are also ways that you as parents can help.
As such, we have put together this handy guide to helping your child with anxiety, so you are there with the right advice, should any of your loved one’s experience anxiety or depression whilst they are away from home studying.
How To Identify Student Anxiety
The first step is, of course, being able to identify university anxiety in the first place. As parents, you will already be conscious of suffocating your child by continually asking about their wellbeing, but there are tell-tale signs you can look out for:
- Lack of motivation
- Increased levels of agitation
- Fluctuations in weight
- Personal hygiene issues
- Failure to attend lectures
- Erratic sleep patterns
There are of course other signs of student anxiety, but these are the classic signs that your child could be overwhelmed by the university experience, whether this is academic or social.
Anxiety Support Plan
If you have already experienced similar issues when your child was studying for their high school exams, then you may have been able to offer constant support, but this is far less straightforward when it comes to university. Your child could well be hundreds of miles away, meaning that the phone or social media is your only channel of communication.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t support them through this tricky time. Anxiety isn’t necessarily a permanent issue and could simply be exacerbated by a tricky relationship or academic pressure. Often, finding the root cause can be the key and this can be achieved through simple understanding and empathy.
In the majority of cases, the key is finding some time to see or speak to your child and reassure them that their feelings are normal and valid. Anxiety is often made worse when the individual feels like they are being silly for feeling under pressure or depressed and assuring them that this is normal can go a long way to relieving this and getting back to normal.
Pick The Right Time
If you are concerned, then choosing the correct time to intervene can be crucial. As discussed, getting involved too early or perhaps too often can be counterproductive and can even result in making matters worse. There is no one size fits all approach to this, and you will know your child better than anyone, but try to find that perfect balance.
Student Advice for Anxiety
Thankfully, there are all sorts of services and resources available for students who are feeling the pressure, so this is not something you or your child have to deal with alone. Mental health problems can, unfortunately, have an adverse impact on the ability to study and more importantly, happiness, so all universities and colleges will have facilities available. The NHS also has all sorts of information available online from the best time to get help and the ideal time to chat with a GP.
Often, the best plan of action for anyone struggling with student anxiety is to get out and about around campus. When anyone is feeling down, the natural inclination is to shut oneself away and hide from the world, but university societies and sports teams can help your child to feel included and part of a student community. It is important to bear in mind however, that all mental health conditions are different, and the same rules do not apply to everyone.
Although student mental health is a complex and important issue, we hope this quick guide has helped you to recognise some of the early signs of anxiety. Should you be on the lookout for student accommodation across the UK that offer the cutting-edge facilities and somewhere your son or daughter can live and study with the minimum amount of stress, then please get in touch.
Our properties are all fitted with state-of-the-art security with quiet rooms, libraries and chilled out study spaces and much more. These extras could make all the difference and help your child to study in a peaceful and stress-free environment.