It is a well-known truth that life at university can be extremely stressful and can consequently have a negative impact on our mental health. It has been shown that most mental health problems develop by the age of 24 , and in 2015-16 alone, 15,000 first-year students at UK universities reported having a mental health problem .

Apart from the obvious academic pressures of studying, students are simultaneously battling the atrocious financial struggles of paying for rent, commuting and weekly groceries to get by (I dare not mention our huge student loan debt!). For those eager enough to join Clubs & Societies, attending regular meetings, events and training can become an overwhelming responsibility. And to top things off, many of us also struggle with the emotional challenges of dealing with relationship and family problems. Whilst these are all pertinent issues to us as students, there are still many people who are oblivious to the complex challenges that we face.

Thursday 7th March 2019 marked ‘University Mental Health Day’: a national day to recognise student mental health and raise awareness. This year’s theme was the power of ‘using your voice’ as a means of addressing the existing gaps in knowledge, mental health literacy and the support available to students . Essentially the idea is for students and supporters to use their voices to shape the future.

As Mental Health Officer, one of the main tasks I have been working on behind the scenes this year has been to create a ‘Health and Wellbeing Survey’ for all students at Imperial. The purpose of the survey is to create a channel of communication for students to use their voices and tell me what changes they would like to see in the College. It also allows me to pinpoint which areas of university life need to be enriched, whilst also identifying under-represented groups in the College. By using the feedback from the survey, I aim to devise effective strategies to improve overall student mental health and wellbeing. It therefore seemed fitting to launch the survey on University Mental Health Day 2019 and give YOU the opportunity to use your voice to enact change. The link to the survey can be found on all Imperial College Union social media channels and will be sent through via newsletter to all student emails. So what are you waiting for? Let’s use our voices to start changing the student mental health narrative, one by one.

If you have any mental health related concerns or issues you would like to discuss, please feel free to contact the Mental Health Officer at: icu-mentalhealth@imperial.ac.uk or tm4115@ic.ac.uk.