Surviving Uni With A Mental Illness

Disclaimer: In no way, shape, or form is this medical advice. I am not a medical professional. This article is based on personal experience and the experiences of people I know. 

Keep in contact with your doctor

If you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness, you should have at least one doctor who is familiar with your mental health history. Even when you’re busy with uni, make sure to keep them updated about how you’re going, and to book an appointment if you’re going through a really rough time. If you’re moving away from your regular doctor to attend uni this can be a bit tricky, but there are ways around it. Do some research about doctors in your new town, and when you’ve settled on one you’re comfortable with, ask your old doctor to send your files to your new doctor, and to give them a bit of background about you. This will save you having to give your new doctor your entire life story when you first meet. Don’t forget that if you feel like your new doctor is not right for you or your situation, you are absolutely allowed to try others out. Doctor shopping is just part of being a grown up, and even though it can be annoying, be assured that you aren’t the only one doing it.

Tell your teachers

Although, even for the best and bravest of us, telling people about our mental illness can be super confronting and downright scary. In some cases though, it’s kinda necessary. Uni can be full on, and it’s better to give your professors a heads up that you might need some leeway later on than to just surprise them with your need for extensions and days off. Generally, professors are super supportive. They want you to do well and to get the most you can out of their class, and will do whatever they can to ensure that happens. Just hang back after a class and give your mental health a quick mention, and say that sometimes uni can be a lot of stress and you might need some flexibility. Pretty simple, very easy, no details needed.

Use online resources 

Therapy? From your bed? What could be better than that? In all seriousness, loads of handy mental health services can be accessed online. Sites like BeyondBlue and ReachOut have loads of online resources specifically designed for young people. Through them you can read about other people’s experiences with their mental health, chat to online support, or be linked to other services that can help you out. Don’t forget to make use of CSU’s online resources too. You can book counselling sessions online, and choose to have your sessions in person or over the phone. On a studying front, use Interact2 to watch your lecture from home when you just can’t make it to campus, or to get started on your readings early so you can pace yourself. Remember, you know your mental health the best.