We have compiled contributions from tutors who wanted to share their experience with mental health to teach others about its significance. Thank you Judi, Eva and Will for you entries!


Towards the end of my first year at sixth-form college, I suffered my first panic attack. As an otherwise healthy teenager, it was an incredibly scary thing to experience. The rest of the year was a blur. I barely left the house, I struggled to eat or sleep and I was later diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Depression. My studies started to suffer, I lost weight and I was constantly overwhelmed with nausea and fatigue. From my experience, my advice would be: don’t bottle things up; confide in somebody. Suffering from a mental health condition can be a very lonely place and knowing that somebody has your back can make all the difference. Alternatively, I found creativity to be a useful coping mechanism. Writing poems helped me to express how I was feeling and to cope with overwhelming emotions. Something as simple as keeping a written diary can be very useful; not only can it help you to articulate your emotions, but it’s also great to look back at how far you’ve come!

  • Eva Curless, English Tutor


With mental health you can be fine one minute and then the next, bam, your world can turn upside down. However, there are some ongoing things you can do to help manage your wellbeing:

  1. Be kind to yourself - do you really have to do all those tasks in one day? Surely something can wait, what’s the worst that can happen if you put some tasks off for a couple of days or longer?
  2. Lists can be useful, however if you are living your life by them, then you probably have too much on and should think about what you can pull back on.
  3. Never underestimate the impact poor physical health can have on your mental health. Try and exercise regularly – this doesn’t need to be a 5-mile run in the park but just little things, like taking the stairs instead of the lift, having a dance around whilst doing the housework, can all help.
  4. Mindfulness can be helpful for some people when they feel there is too much going on in their head. A few minutes of doing this regularly can take you away from your problems & helps you focus on something else. You can make this fun and involve the whole family – for example, be mindful when you are eating your evening meal. Look at the food on your fork before you eat it, what colours are there, what does it smell like? Chances are you will taste and enjoy your food more this way.
  5. Take some time away from screens, try & sit somewhere where there’s no pc or television, even if this is just for 15 minutes & just breathe & relax...
  6. Make sure you allow at least half an hour every day for ‘me time’. Read a book, go for a walk, talk to a friend on the phone or have a bath. If you build this into your routine & let family know why you are doing it, it will become an accepted part of your daily life.
  • Judi McGrath, Primary Tutor


As a teenager, mental health was not something I considered as the same level of seriousness as physical health. That view was changed dramatically once I got to university. A shocking number of people I knew, especially male friends, were overwhelmed with anxiety or depression at some point during their studies. The combination of substance abuse, having no routine and living without any real authority made student homes ideal for mental health problems to inhabit.

A friend of mine sadly passed away this time last year because of mental health and drug problems. To commemorate him, I ran the Manchester marathon and raised money for the charity Mind, as they offer the sort of mental health support service he could have benefitted from.

Although it’s easy for students to find themselves in a state of poor mental health, it is preventable. There are a few things one can do and that I wish I’d told my friend about in order to maintain good wellbeing. Respecting your limits and resisting peer pressure at university is difficult but can stop accidents from happening. Getting out of the house and having routine is essential – picking up hobbies or doing sport can help you avoid being holed up at home spending too long inside your own head. And without a doubt, staying enthusiastic about your course and engaged with university is vital. This might sound obvious, but going to as many lectures as possible gets you out of bed and makes you a lot less stressed when deadlines approach. Getting satisfying grades is great for your self esteem and reminds you why you’re studying in the first place.

  • Will Baldwin-Pask, Tutor Coordinator