+ How support students can help you
Mental health is an important part of well-being. Life inevitably includes gloomy tones from time to time, but if life feels colorless, heavy, or even hopeless from day to day, there is no need to be left alone with these feelings. There is help for you too.
The On My Mind support student activities promote the mental health of the students of the University of Turku – all campuses Pori and Rauma included. One important goal is to reduce the stigma associated with mental health challenges and another is to encourage more open culture of speaking about these challenges.
Many support students themselves have experienced challenging periods of life. My own challenges have been related to perfectionism associated with eating and studying. Eating or even doing sports can turn into a mere performance aiming to perfection. Similar thinking with studying can cause a lot of stress.
In my own case, the divorce of my parents triggered my eating problems. The pressure of appearance, feelings of inadequacy, and the squeaking of my quite good appetite caused me an unhealthy relationship with food for many years.
Problems in one area of life may be transferred to another. As a result of my food avoidance, I was no longer able to see my friends as much which caused me mild depression. I was ashamed of myself. Nonetheless, from the outside, I tried to look just as happy as ever before, even though my closest friends and family knew for sure that everything wasn`t okey. A person may be fully capable of studying or working, but he or she may still feel depressed or anxious or act unhealthy to himself or herself.
The surest way to overcome challenges is to admit the problem to yourself and, second, to seek help. At the heart of support student activities is the provide possibilities to chat confidentially and get company to everyday student activities. For example, you can contact a support student and get company to a student restaurant for lunch or a walk in the park. However, you will be left with the biggest decision – the decision to seek help. Once you have made this decision, you can contact the support student through the Shall we talk? -form.
Exchange students can also be in contact with support students. I myself have been twice in an exchange, in a high school exchange in the United States, and in an Erasmus exchange in Italy. Based on these experiences, I am be able to understand what homesickness and culture shock mean in practice, and hopefully help in dealing with such feelings.
It’s worth remembering that support students are ready to chat with you. We each have our own strengths and skills. So, you will certainly find a support student who can help you with your own challenges, whether it was related to loneliness, substance abuse problems, studying, coping, or anything else on your mind.