Mental health at the forefront for tertiary institutions at exam time

Mental health at the forefront for tertiary institutions at exam time

End-of-year exams are the most stressful time of the year for tertiary students across the country, and this Mental Health Awareness Week organisations are stressing the importance of students’ wellbeing.

New Zealand Union of Students’ Association's President Linsey Higgins says it’s an important time of the year for students to be paying attention to their own health.

“I think students have to be aware it is getting close to the end of the year there are a lot of pressures on them, they’re obviously tired from the year it’s been a long year,” she says.

“[Students need to] just make sure they look after themselves, don’t push themselves too hard, and make sure they save time for themselves.”

Ms Higgins added that across the country there are many avenues for students to reach out for help.

“There’s a number of different options, most institutions will have a counselling service where they should be able to seek help there. Similarly, student associations have advocates they will be able to assist in some way - we just encourage people to seek help and talk about what’s going on.”

Bachelor of Applied Science student Savanna Ornsby took matters into her own hands and created a School of Wellbeing project to support students at the Ara Institute of Canterbury.

“I really wanted to increase the awareness of wellbeing and in particular how students can improve their wellbeing,” she says.

“Through my own experiences over the past few years I have learnt a lot about the importance of looking after my own wellbeing, particularly in times of high stress and when I’m really busy.”

Ms Ornsby says students need to acknowledge that stress is a normal part of life.

“When I start to feel negativity creeping in, I try to look at the positives and the things that I can control.

Her advice for those feeling stressed and overwhelmed?

“Firstly I would really recommend a little bit about the [New Economic Foundation's] five ways to wellbeing because they’re really simple, they really can make a difference.”

The five ways are: