How to deal with depression at university

Starting university is an exciting time but it can also present new academic challenges and social pressures. It can be tough trying to balance exams and coursework alongside finances, new friendships, and navigating around a new city or town.

Mental health difficulties are common among students but with the right support, university is a place where you can feel safe, settled, and succeed during your studies.

There are tools and strategies in place at universities to help you overcome depression and anxiety and improve your well-being.

If you are feeling anxious about going to university or looking for advice on how to deal with depression at university, keep reading.

Open up to somebody you trust

Whether it’s an old friend, family member or new flatmate, opening up to somebody you trust can help relieve some of the pressures you are facing.

No matter the reason behind your depression, sharing your struggles, doubts, and concerns with somebody close to you is the first step to dealing with your depression at university.

Speak to the student’s union

It is likely that your university will have a designated student well-being team that can be used at your disposal.

The student well-being team is on hand to provide 24/7 online support, drop-in sessions, self-help resources, and emotional and mental health support.

Depression is common among university students and the student well-being team is in place to guide, advise, and help students so don’t feel ashamed to share your problems with the team.

Look after your physical health

Following a healthy diet and exercising regularly at university has the power not only to improve your physical health but also your mental health.

It is proven that physical activity has great potential to enhance your well-being. Although it may seem like an impossible task, even just a short walk outside can increase self-esteem, reduce stress, and reduce the risk of anxiety.

Practice self-care

University study hours can be long and tiresome, so it is important to schedule regular time slots between work and socialising to focus on yourself. Spend this time doing something you enjoy whether that be meditation, baking, painting, yoga, or reading.

Engaging in self-care activities can help to reduce and eliminate depression and anxiety and is proven to increase happiness. Simple activities such as allowing yourself to get enough sleep, drinking water, and eating regularly throughout the day are also forms of self-care.

University is a big life adjustment and usually, the first time students have left their family, friends, and hometown for a long period of time.

Being accepted into a university is a wonderful achievement that deserves to be celebrated and although depression and anxiety are common among new students, most students find university to be a rewarding experience.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, don’t feel like you’re alone, and don’t doubt your own capabilities. With support from friends, tutors, and family, university has the potential to be one of your greatest accomplishments.

If you know someone who is struggling with their mental health at university, check out our article on how to help someone with depression. Alternatively, if you're interested in becoming a counsellor to help students deal with anxiety and depression then be sure to check out our counselling courses.