Uni dropout battles mental illness stigma after being ‘judged’ at Glasgow

‘People only saw me as my illness’

A disappointed student has launched a campaign to support those with mental health problems at uni after being discriminated against at Glasgow uni.

Heather McCartney was left no choice but to leave her course at Glasgow University when she was “judged” for her severe anxiety.

She told the Evening Times: “People though I just wasn’t cut out for university, the student life obviously wasn’t for me.”

She believes the higher education system didn’t provide enough support to help her through her degree and so started a campaign to help fellow sufferers of mental illness.

Anxiety can get the better of some students

Anxiety can get the better of some students

“People only saw me as the illness, they didn’t see me for the person I was and they judged what I did based on that.”

Being socially isolated, and lack of motivation are both symptoms of having mental health problems, and can be helped by the support of others.

support in numbers

Support in numbers

Heather now wants to see the anti-stigma campaign rolled out across other universities and colleges across Scotland, she told the Evening Times: “I really would have benefited from something like that.

“I think a lot of students would because university is a transitional period and many people have moved away from home for the first time.”

Student ambassadors will be placed in the pilot institutions to find out the types of stigmas and discrimination faced on campus.

They will then work with their peers as well as associations like NUS Scotland to put a stop to stigmatisation of mental illnesses in higher education.

Vonnie Sandlan, from NUS Scotland, told the Evening Times: “Students with mental health problems are entitled to education free of stigma and discrimination.

“We want this to improve people’s experience of student life.”

Heather’s project has been funded by See Me Scotland.