As mental health awareness month comes to a close, Headspace has raised concerns over the wellbeing of Australia’s university and TAFE students.

Headspace has revealed that almost 70 per cent of students rated their mental health as poor to fair, in what is the organisation’s largest student survey.

Headspace representative, Micheal Bennett said there were a multitude of factors that contribute to poor mental health for tertiary students.

“Students are under a lot of pressure,” he said.

“The transition from high school to tertiary education can often result in feelings of stress and anxiety which may never go away.

“Many students feel lost or isolated…this period in young peoples’ lives can be very negative for some.”

Although universities and TAFE’s have established support programmes, including councillors available to all students, Mr Bennett explained that a lot of students are either unaware of how to seek help or feel uncomfortable doing so.

“Often students feel embarrassed when asking for help from staff,” he said.

“Many feel as though their application for late-submissions or academic considerations will be rejected because they aren’t ‘physically’ sick, and that alone is a big issue.”

UOW student and mental health advocate, Alex Hill, said that she, like many of her university friends, experience high-levels of stress and anxiety heading towards assessment period.

“I know so many people, including myself, who feel overwhelmed by deadlines during assessment periods,” Ms Hill said.

“With assessments and study piling up, I often feel like I can’t do it anymore…I would let anxiety take over my life.”

When Ms Hill realised her studies were impacting her mental health, she knew it was time to reach out for help.

“One day I just thought, ‘this is enough, I want to keep studying but I need to put my mental wellbeing first’,” she said.

“When I finally took that step and asked for help, I no longer felt alone…I encourage everyone to start the conversation and end the sigma behind mental health.”

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