Mental Health Tips For Going to University

This might be your first year at university or you might be a returning student – either way it’s important to manage your mental health and wellbeing as you return to your studies.  

Going back might be a big jump or it might feel different to previous years. With information from SAMH, we've put together these tips for managing your wellbeing during a transition period like going to university. 

1. Meeting people & making friends  

Making friends at university might seem daunting. You might know some people from school, you might be living with some pals or you could be going to university by yourself – whatever your situation, making friends is probably high on your priority list! 

The most important thing is to take things at a pace you're comfortable with and remember to look after yourself too (give yourself space and don’t be hard on yourself). Here are some ideas to help you meet new people: 

  • It’s a simple one but leaving your hall door open as you unpack and are in your room – this will encourage people to pop in and say hello. Equally, don’t be afraid to pop your head in someone else’s door to introduce yourself!  
  • Spend some time in communal areas such as the kitchen, lounge or eating areas. A cup of tea or food are great ways to bring people together and hosting a flat meal is a great way to get to know your new flatmates. Take a look at Co-op’s Ready in 10 recipes for meals, snacks and drinks to share with your flatmates!
  • When lectures start, introduce yourself to the person you’re sitting next to – you'll have one thing in common as you’re doing the same course, so it’s a good starting point for a conversation.  
  • Join clubs or societies - there is normally something for everyone! Find out if there are any Fresher’s Fairs on (online or in person) to see what might be happening that you’re interested in – lots have a taster or introductory sessions so you can see what it’s like before committing to anything.  

Remember that most people are in the same boat and are keen to meet new people and make friends.  

Find out more about how you can feed your flat for a fiver by visiting our discount page!

2. Make a financial plan 

Money management can be really stressful, and this might be the first time you are in charge of your money. Try and stick to a realistic plan that prioritises essentials such as rent, bills and food. You can find out more about money management at university in our dedicated article.

3. Coping with homesickness  

It is very common to feel homesick when you move away from home and familiar places for the first time. It might take a little time to feel settled and for your new flat, room or house to feel like your new home. You might want to try some of these things if you’re feeling homesick: 

  • Embrace your inner interior designer and make your room feel like home. 
  • Keeping busy is key to keeping your mind distracted, whether it’s planning a night out or giving an event or society a go.  
  • Chat to people around you, it can help distract you and you never know, someone else might be feeling the same as you.  

4. Know your warning signs  

Everyone has different ways that lets them know they are struggling. It could be losing interest in a hobby, it could be a change in sleeping patterns. Regularly checking in with your wellbeing can tell a lot about your mental health.  

5. Reach out to the resources available 

While university might seem like a big place, there is a lot of support available. You can speak to resident advisors, student support services and Nightline Association. All of these services promote student wellbeing and they will be able to offer advice and let you know what other services, like counselling, are available at your university. 

There are also a range of resources and information shared below which you might find useful: 

There's lots more information available if you're worried or anxious about going to university. Download SAMH's How to Cope With Student Life booklet, packed full of useful information and ideas.

Take a look at our page in partnership with Co-op about going to university.