Dear Lancfessions: I want to seek help but I don’t know where to start
It is not inconvenient to need support
Lancfessions 2: Electric Boogaloo get a lot of serious submissions regarding mental health, loneliness and the anxieties of Lancaster students. Often, the support of the Original Poster (OP) relies on viewers choosing to comment on their post.
At times as blatantly uncertain as we find ourselves in now, The Tab Lancaster and Lancfessions 2: Electric Boogaloo believe that sometimes OP’s submissions deserve more attention and consideration. The Dear Lancfessions column will bring forward one anonymous post every two weeks. Together, Lancfessions admins and the editor of The Tab Lancaster will produce a considerate and compassionate response full of advice and places to find support.
Your anonymity will not be compromised as all submissions used will be taken from the Lancfessions page. We hope this column helps students at Lancaster University and reminds you that you are not alone.
“My mental health has been really bad recently, does anyone know of any resources that I can use to try and help things get better? I live with my parents at the moment, so its a bit difficult to pursue the ‘normal’ routes of help (gp, for example) as they don’t know the full extent of things. I would try and tell them but I don’t want to be seen as weak or inconvenient, but at the same time I think I’m really struggling and I really want to try and get better.”
Wanting seek help is neither weak nor inconvenient
There is often a stigma around speaking openly about your mental health, so you should give yourself some credit for seeking help by just asking for advice. Struggling with your mental health is neither weak nor inconvenient, it is something that the majority of us endure and our mental wellbeing is something we should always take care of.
There is no shame in needing to seek help. It is not inconvenient to need support, there are many resources available all designed by generous people who actively want you to feel better. It’s okay not to feel okay, and there’s a community ready to lend their expertise and kindness. You’re not alone, even if your feelings are sometimes dark you will always be cared for.
There are places to meet new people, despite not being on campus
Within the academic year of 2020/21, feeling far removed from your university life is a very common feeling. Meeting people, talking and feeling like you are supported by the people around you, is really difficult when you’re all so far apart and away from the campus you share.
Luckily, we’ve found plenty of places that can provide this companionship online. So whilst we are apart, its important to remember you are not alone, and the places we list below are just some examples of where you can find someone to speak to or maybe even make new friends.
One of the best things about Lancaster University is its college system. It’s the colleges which provide that Lancaster community feel and help you meet people. During the pandemic this has been especially hard but the colleges are doing online events that give students the opportunity to meet new people.
County’s Household Speed Dating event and Lonsdale’s music exchange are just two examples of what might be happening in your college this term. Although it might seem scary at first, attending these events and meeting new people might help you find a new friendship.
The Mix is a website that provides essential support for under 25s. There’s plenty of chatrooms where people can open discussions about pretty much anything, you can even stay anonymous in these chats, so it provides a really safe space to find support.
Reach out to the people around you, if that’s your parents it might help to tell them you’re not doing too well
As we said, it’s not always easy to open up. But we shouldn’t be afraid to lean on those around us if they are there. Often, it is easier to understate how we feel as to not scare or worry those around us – but even an understatement is a start. Point out that you’re not coping too well, and you may find that the people around you are willing to support you from the understatement. From there, you might find the space to open up about the extent of things, but even if you don’t letting someone know that things aren’t great is a really healthy start.
Following that, there is also plenty of resources and places that you can go to for support. Below, we have listed a range of phonelines, webchats and services that may be beneficial to the OP.
If you feel comfortable making a phone call, CALM offer evening telephone calls by ringing 0800585858. Similarly, one can find telephone support for mental health issues through Mind during the day. This can be accessed by calling 03001233393. CALM’s service runs daily from 5pm to midnight while Mind’s runs on weekdays between 9am and 6pm. This is useful if you need quick support or advice from people that have been specifically trained.
Other useful support lines include Rethink (not the former Bailrigg show, but equally as supportive) reachable on weekdays between 9:30am and 4pm, by calling 03005000927. Lastly, there is The Samaritans reachable 24/7 at 116123 offering confidential support for those in distress.
Webchats and instant messaging services
Lancaster nightline is a confidential listening and information service. Whilst they are not taking phone calls at the moment, they are offering an instant messaging service that can be found here.
LUSU’s Advice Service is a free, non-judgmental and confidential support service for Lancaster uni students. The team of professional advisors are an independent organisation that is separate from the uni, so are best placed to provide you with impartial advice. They can support you through whatever may happen- just email them and ask how they can help: [email protected]
More phonelines and webchats can be found via the NHS.
Are you a Lancaster student worried about making friends, settling into university or how to manage uni at the moment? Submit your post to Lancfessions 2: Electric Boogaloo and we may answer them in the next Dear Lancfessions column.