During your time at University, you may form close bonds with your housemates, course mates and those in your clubs and societies. At times, you might notice that they are behaving differently or struggling with University life and require support.
There are ways to recognise potential symptoms of depression. Here are a few different signs to look for.
Recognising the problem in a friend
Losing interest – They may not be as interested in things that they used to enjoy.
Sadness – They may seem very down and feel hopeless about aspects of their life.
Lethargy – They may show signs of having slower speech and movements.
Agitated – They may appear to be more fidgety and restless than usual.
Exhaustion – They may feel more tired, describing low energy levels.
Changes in appetite - They may be eating too much or not wanting to eat enough.
Changes to sleep pattern – They may be sleeping more than usual or not able to sleep enough.
Difficulty concentrating – They may not be able to focus on everyday things, such as watching the television or reading a magazine.
What you can do to help
Show you care - Let them know you are worried and that you are here to listen to them.
Be sensitive to how they are feeling - Accept them for who they are and don’t judge them for what they may tell you. Remember to ask them what would be helpful to them. Don’t just assume you know what they need.
Encourage – You can gently encourage them to look after their wellbeing. This may be making improvements in their sleep pattern, the amount they exercise, what they eat or even what they do to relax. Remember to be patient; your friend may find exercise or social interaction harder for them to do and more of a challenge to get started.
Help them to get support – You could research help available to them in the University or through local support groups. Again be patient; they may need some time to get used to the idea of seeking help.
Stay in touch – Keep in contact with them regularly and help them to get out of the house more often. This can help to prevent them from feeling isolated.
How to get support for yourself
The responsibility for keeping someone safe and happy ultimately falls on the individual. Here are some ways to be able to support your friends effectively.
- Be honest with what your time limits are and set some boundaries.
- Encourage your friend to build up a support network to include other friends and family.
Support within the University
Faculty Student Informtion/Experience Team
You can contact the Faculty Student Information / Experience staff in your college who can offer you practical advice, guidance, and signposting to appropriate services. They can also discuss the extenuating circumstances process with you should you need to use this. You can find a list of the contact details for Faculty Information/Experience staff here.
You can read more about the extenuating circumstances process here.
Faith@CampusLife's listening service offers a listening ear to whoever needs it – irrespective of religion, if any. These chats can happen via phone or video calling, whichever you feel most comfortable using. If you would like to speak to a particular member of the team then please indicate who that is when you contact them. To access this service please contact Listeningservice.firstname.lastname@example.org
Welfare are a team within Campuslife whose aim is to improve the student experience in Swansea University. We work closely with staff in colleges, other support services within the university and external partners such as the Police and Public Health Wales to ensure that students receive the best support when they are experiencing welfare issues whilst studying. You may find it useful to take a look at our advice pages here
Wellbeing - Swansea University’s Wellbeing Service can offer students support such as, access to stress control course, self-help resources, group programmes, one off support sessions and counselling. You can contact Wellbeing by emailing email@example.com
You can request support by filling out their request form here.
If you need information or you are worried about something, feel upset or confused, or you just want to talk to someone, the SAMARITANS provide confidential emotional support, 24 hours a day. Contact the Samaritans by email or at www.samaritans.org or phone (from the UK) 08457 90 90 90 or 116 123 from a mobile.
MIND & Student Minds
Mind offers information, signposting and legal advice for issues related to mental health Click here to access Mind's Website.
Student Minds - Empowers students and members of the University community to look after their own mental health, support others and create change Click here to access their Website
Family & Friends
Don't underestimate the benefit of talking to your family and friends about how you are feeling. Sometimes a problem shared is a problem halved. Be careful not to depend on talking to your family and friends from home all the time though - you need to give yourself the chance to meet new friends!
Speaking to your GP is really important when things don't feel right. If you haven't already registered with the GP here in Swansea, it's not too late.
If you wish to register for GP services whilst studying at Swansea University, surgeries are now using an online facility, ‘Ask My GP’. You will be able to access the registrations forms online.
There are an array of GP surgery options available to students in Swansea but we work closely with the following given their close proximity to our campuses.
Singleton Campus – http://www.universityhealthcentre.wales.nhs.uk/home
Bay Campus - https://www.harbourside.wales.nhs.uk/