It’s normal, when having to balance increased workloads with relationships and new experiences—all while hovering on the cusp of adulthood, willingly or otherwise— to feel in over your head. To feel that everything you’re dealing with is all too much for one singular uni kid to handle. It’s all too much stress.
If you’re at this stage right now, please don’t put yourself down as weak or pathetic! Everyone is going through something (even your favourite NBA star or celebrity), and there’s a high chance a fellow peer is feeling overwhelmed, too.
A gentle reminder that even the most efficient of robots require occasional maintenance to operate, so why wouldn’t you? If a short break will help, take one! If a longer one is necessary, discuss it over with the relevant parties and take it. As the Chinese saying goes, rest is for accomplishing a longer journey. Rest and refuel through whatever activity you love before moving onward.
If you’ve been feeling unusually lethargic, restless, irritable, or just not your usual self, however, these could be warning signs of anxiety or depression. It could have been going on for an extended period of time, or hit you like a wrecking ball out of nowhere at all. If you think that you might need assistance but aren’t sure where to get it, or in what form, we’ve listed some resources available to you below.
Most universities have student health/wellbeing centres that provide free and confidential counselling services, if you need them. Usually, you can schedule an appointment via a variety of methods (calling, walk-in, emails, etc.).
If you’re uncomfortable with speaking to a counsellor right off the bat or just need a listening ear, schools like SMU and SUSS have set up peer-helping systems that you can make use of. Students in such programs undergo training courses and selection processes before they assume their roles. (Please do not, however, expect them to provide you advice or therapy; what they do is provide you social and emotional support in a non-judgmental environment!)
Some schools also provide 24 hour help-lines, or after-office help-lines like NTU’s, for students that are facing life-threatening psychological situations. These include active thoughts of self-harm and severe panic/anxiety attacks, for example. Aside from these, you can also make use of the 24-hour hotline Samaritans of Singapore (SOS), at 1800 221 4444.
A quick list of links.
Should you need to seek external help, do note that outpatient mental health consultations at Government/Restructured Specialist Clinics are reimbursable (up to a certain amount), if your school has a medical health scheme and you have been referred by a physician or school counsellor. Check with your school for more information.
Due to increasing awareness of the importance of mental health and wellbeing, more self-launched/community initiatives have arisen in recent years.
The Community Health Assessment Team (CHAT), an outreach program for youth mental health run by the Institute of Mental Health, has a one-stop hub at SCAPE that you can go to if you need to speak to youth support or find resources. If you need to make an appointment for a confidential mental health check, you can apply online through CHAT, which will conduct them there.
The Tapestry Project Singapore, a local online platform presenting stories and narratives from individuals going through mental health challenges, healthcare professionals as well as caregivers, is another avenue you can explore. The platform offers you a chance to read others’ stories and submit your own if you want to inspire others in return.
They also have a directory where they list locally run initiatives, many of which run projects that advocate and promote mental health, which you can check out.
There are many resources out there, and one of the ones Digital Senior recommends is Half of Us. The US based site, a collaboration between the JED Foundation and mtvU, provides advice and techniques on how to deal with stress and other concerns in the form of video interviews and articles.
If you are a reader with more resources to recommend, please do drop us a message!
I’m here because I want to learn more about mental health in general/support a friend. Where do I start?
There are plenty of ways you can do so! For those keen on reading and discussing mental health, you can explore this subject through Beyond A Maze’s recently launched book club. You can also sign up to be a mental health advocate/volunteer with Campus Psy, a ground-up social movement created to promote awareness and provide support to youths in tertiary institutions.
Other ways to better understand mental health/any health challenges include digital health communities such as The Mighty.
We hope this list has helped you in some way; help us to help others by letting us know what other resources are relevant/helpful to you in moments of mental distress/challenges. If you have an inspiring story to share about tackling stress in university, for example, we welcome you to contribute to us, too. We wish you well!