​Going to university could be the ‘best time of your life’, but the changes and opportunities that make it great can also leave you vulnerable to depression.

Mental health problems are more common in students than the general population, and depression is one of the main conditions seen by university counselling services.

Things get on top of everyone from time to time, but depression is when low mood takes over a person’s mental and physical wellbeing.

  • ​go easy on yourself – you’re allowed to have ‘aargh’ moments.  Talk to others and they’re probably feeling exactly the same.  If funds allow plan a short visit home and keep in touch with loved ones.
  • have a laugh and try something new - societies or sports clubs are great for finding people like you. Search the Students' Union website with over 200 to choose from.
  • look after yourself – eat regularly and try to get as much fruit and veg as possible; build in exercise or just have walk or bike ride.
  • get organised – use a calendar, diary or organiser to schedule deadlines, work, rest and play.
  • rewards can help you stay motivated.  Treat your self to a magazine or night out with mates.
  • punishments – don’t be too hard on yourself and avoid people who drain your energy or leave you feeling worse.​​
  • Try something different - the Be Mindful website  allows you to experience mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) designed for people with recurrent depression.  This has robust and compelling evidence.

Symptoms of depression

Why being a student can make you prone to depression

Tips to help ride the storm and increase self esteem

  • feeling tired all the time
  • loss of appetite or eating more than necessary
  • using alcohol, smoking or drugs to try to cope
  • low mood over weeks or months
  • poor concentration and short term memory
  • avoiding friends and not wanting to go out
  • trouble sleeping or excessive sleeping
  • feeling empty, hopeless, and tearful
  • thoughts of suicide or life not being worth living

For information, resources and real student stories, visit the Students Against Depression website.

Rethink is a national charity for everyone affected by mental illness. Visit their webpages on depression.

The Mental Health Foundation has webpages on managing depression, including free audio podcasts which you can listen from the site or download for your phone or personal music player.

 The Samaritans provide confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can contact them by phone, email, letter or face-to-face.  Visit the Samaritans website for more details.

Depression

  • being away from home and its routines, people and support may lead to homesickness. 
  • fitting in – if you feel ‘different’ due to your drinking habits, sexual orientation or family background it can leave you feeling isolated.
  • student lifestyles of excessive alcohol or drug taking, risky sexual behaviour, junk food and inconsistent sleep patterns.​
  • perfectionism and procrastination – rewriting your essay 5 times or putting off doing your coursework until the night before it’s due.
  • comparing yourself to others - are you trying to determine your worth by comparing brains or looks?
  • pressure to get a good degree – on top of the need to get good grades throughout your school career, pressure may now increase due to the job market.
  • ‘Uni age crisis?’ – teens to mid thirties involves major transitions such as adolescence to becoming an adult, deciding on career path, relationships, finding out about yourself.


This MIND award nominated article in 
IMPACT: the University of Nottingham’s official student magazine highlighted the issue of loneliness.                           

(This link allows you to read the article - see pp 14-16)

University of Lincoln Health Service ​​

Useful links