By Karin Qureshi, Manager of Counselling and Mental Wellbeing at Birmingham City University

 University Mental Health Day (UMHD) is a special day in the academic calendar when we focus on mental health and students and encourage conversations that support a more positive mental outlook.

What do we mean by a positive mental outlook?

Have you noticed how people use the term mental health to only talk about in a negative way? Whereas physical health is discussed in a positive and negative way.

Good mental health is important to talk about too; it is a time in life when we are able to deal with difficult life events and stress it is a time when we have the resilience to cope with life and still enjoy it. We also have the energy to try new things and risk new experiences.

However, it would be unlikely that this would be a permanent state of life. We can all go through periods when we are low on resilience either due to a lot of changes at once or illness, or from other factors, so wherever we are in our journey with our own health we have to be realistic about our goals and aims.

It is important to embrace our good health and celebrate it with our friends and family and try and help those who may be struggling a bit and need some positive energy to help them get through.

What can I do if I don’t feel well in myself?

Here’s some pointers to help with keeping well or coping with feeling low:

  1. Rest – it is important to nap and rest when you are feeling low. That extra rest will help you get through the day.
  1. Eat well – plenty of fruit and veg, but don’t forget the odd treat like a chocolate or a favourite savoury treat.
  1. Open up – though it may not feel easy, in fact at times it feels almost impossible, finding the strength to talk to friends and family is a huge step forward as it helps the brain to process problems.
  1. Write – if you aren’t confident processing how you feel into speech, writing things down is another helpful method to get things out of your head and think about what is going on. You also have a record of your thoughts to look back over.

If you feel that you need further help, speak to your GP who will give you options for further support. Alternatively, you can also seek advice from local mental health organisations.

It’s important to remember that though you may feel as though you alone, this is far from true. Support is available in and around every university and around Birmingham, and you will receive help from people who understand what you are going through.

Stand up, speak out and let’s get more people comfortably talking about mental health.

Karin Qureshi is Manager of Counselling and Mental Wellbeing at Birmingham City University.

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