Created in 2014, Carpe Diem Emmie is a Midlands based Lifestyle, Theatre and Travel blog. Ran by Emmie, a 28 year old woman based in rural Leicestershire.

In the day Emmie works in a primary school where she is passionate about inclusion and mental health. In the evening she escapes to the cultural world.

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"University Gave Me Anxiety Attacks" - Mental Health in University.

This time of year is when thousands of 18-year-olds embark on a new adventure in their life, university. The statistics reveal that there's a mental health crisis with students in the UK. Back in 2015/16 over 15,000 first-year students in UK universities reported that they had a mental health problem, in comparison to approximately 3,000 in 2006

There has been an increase amongst students to disclose mental health problems with their university, in fact, 94% of higher education institutions have reported the higher demand for their counselling services. 

I opened up about my anxiety disorder back in 2014 (read Having a Mental Health Disorder on the blog) when I was diagnosed at university. I have experience of accessing the support available and in my university alone, there wasn't enough for me. I was handed some medication and that was it. I know I'm not alone in this experience. 

Looking ahead to now I can already see that when I put what support is out there for students with mental in university? that the search engine is full to the brim with universities discussing their individual wellbeing support. 

For me in times when anxiety is pretty damn terrifying having somebody near who understands something of what you go through provides comfort and support. This Thursday is World Mental Health Day and I wanted to use this week to invite people to chat about their experiences, whether that's as a mother, in the workplace or as a child.

Shelley from ByBusby shares with us her own experience of mental health at university.

First things first I should probably introduce myself; I am Shelley, a lifestyle & personal style blogger over at bybusby. Oh & I suffer from a border personality disorder (BPD). I’m very open online about my disorder but one thing I've never discussed is how it affected my uni experience. 

Going to uni was a proper turning point for my mental health because I was so ready to escape my current life & reinvent myself. My mental health wasn’t terrible but it wasn't stable. I just wanted to start afresh, meet new people & follow the career I had been dreaming of. 

Who would have known it would end so badly hey? 

Well at this point I didn’t know I suffered from BPD, I had a few diagnoses bouncing around from multiple doctors but no one was really sure. That’s the one thing good that came out of this terrible experience; my diagnosis. 

Let’s get into the nitty gritty shall we? 

My first year was a very odd time for me. I did enjoy it but it was really difficult. Luckily I had really good hall mates & my course was super interesting. I could go home by train pretty easily when I was feeling overwhelmed & I had a decent support system in place. 

My mental health was unstable & I had a few really tough moments but I never thought about leaving. I just kind of rode the rollercoaster that was my life. I assumed it was pretty normal for freshers. You're sleep deprived, hungover a lot & it tends to be the first time from home for us all. 

Now lets flash forward to my second year… the very short lived second year.

Well over summer my mental health improved; I sorted out my uni house, started my own etsy business & was generally happy. I was actually excited to go back to uni. The only thing I was worried about was running my shop with uni work. 

Within the first few weeks of being back my mental health plummeted. I was in a proper state. I was severely depressed. My roommates weren't being pleasant & uni was giving me anxiety attacks. 

I honestly didn't know what to with myself. I just couldn’t handle being there. My course was going in a direction that wouldn’t really work for the career I had planned & I couldn't face going in. 

The work wasn’t harder & nothing was really different from the first year but I couldn’t hack it. I felt like the ultimate failure & got to a point where I was suicidal. 

I didn’t have the support from my roommates but I luckily did have support from course mates & my hall mates. With their help I went to the doctors & got the referrals I needed. 

That’s when I was diagnosed & told that leaving might be the right decision for me. My doctor wrote me the letters I needed to provide to uni & student finance so it would be as easy as possible. 

It should have been easy but uni decided I had to go through this whole process of seeing my tutor, seeing guidance counsellors & then career counsellors. I finally agreed to defer for a year & was able to leave but they put unknown reason on my paperwork meaning student finance was after me. 

Considering I was having constant anxiety attacks just trying to go to lectures I really didn't need all that. I was pretty much told to leave by a health professional that for my own safety I should leave. I felt guilt tripped into the whole process & at the time I was already feeling like the biggest failure for choosing to leave. 

I think universities need to realise that having a support team for students with mental health conditions is great but they also need to have processes that make sense. I appreciated that my uni wanted to make sure I wasn’t making the wrong decision for my future but I felt trapped. 

I wasn’t even aware of the mental health support available at my uni which I hope has changed since I left. It was due to the people around me & me seeking help that resolved the issue. 

My uni made the process harder & then worse by making errors on paperwork. Student finance were chasing me constantly for money I didn’t have because my uni didn’t put a valid reason for me leaving. Even though they had the evidence laid out in front of them they didn't take the time to fulfil their duties. Even resolving the issue was ridiculously difficult but I won’t bore you with the details. 

Could have my uni have made this process more supportive? Of course they could. 

Do I regret leaving uni? No 

I made it through a very difficult time of my life but now i’m ready to take the plunge & return to uni to pursue to career I want. Here’s hoping things have changed! 

If you know somebody in university who is currently experiencing struggles with their mental health, they can get in touch with Student Minds


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