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Depressed student
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DSisSad · 23/04/2021 00:25

My son is in his first year at uni. He hasnt enjoyed it at all. He finds the work really hard and he hasnt really made friends given all the restrictions. He says he works all the time and spends all his time in his room.

Weve been talking about him going back (it seems optional?) and he doesnt really want to. Hes not one to talk about his feelings but tonight he admitted that he feels like theres no point to life and there have been times he felt he would definately kill himself if he didnt have any family who would be sad if he did it.

Weve talked about what he can do to make himself feel better including seeing friends, getting exercise, getting enough sleep ect but I think he should see the GP as well to possibly get medication and maybe counselling. I dont know what to think, I feel so sad for him but also it seems like its reasonable to feel depressed if your doing something you hate and you are on your own all the time. Weve talked about him possibly dropping out or switching uni but he says he wants to complete the year at least.

Has anyone elses' DC been through this? Im so worried.

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thesandwich · 23/04/2021 07:46

So many sadly have been through this. He must contact student services/ his tutor etc and gp got help. Check the uni website. There is lots of support but he needs to access it.
Unis will so much to help.
Good luck

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TeamCuthbert · 23/04/2021 07:50

The first term of uni was the loneliest I have ever felt. I felt so sad all the time.

What is your DS interested in? Clubs are a great way to meet people. And by clubs I mean societies rather than nightclubs.

It is hard, but I think he needs to push himself to meet people, rather than retreat further and taking medication to cope.

Does he have everything he needs to feel confident? Does he have nice clothes and personal items? Things like this can really affect confidence.

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VioletCharlotte · 23/04/2021 07:59

So sorry your son is feeling like. My DS recently went through similar, it's horrible to see them so low isn't it? This year has been awful for students, really not what they signed up for.

I would encourage him to speak to the Dr. I know it can be difficult accessing them at the moment, but ours have been great. He spoke to a mental health nurse initially, and just being able to talk to her and explain how he was feeling seemed to help. He was then referred into IAPT or Talking Therapy.

Is he living at home with you at the moment? If so, it sounds like it would be a good thing for him to continue to do so for the rest of the year while all the restrictions are in place so that you can keep an eye on him, make sure he's eating, etc.

I would also encourage him to look for a part time job to give him a sense of purpose and get him out of the house. My DS just felt like his whole existence was meaningless. He made the decision to leave in the end and is now working full time. Just having to get up every morning and go to work seems to have made a huge difference.

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Chemenger · 23/04/2021 08:00

He should definitely do as you suggest. GP and counselling. However university counselling services are stretched to the limit even more than usual this year and waiting times are long. They will probably triage him and, sadly, he probably won’t get a very early appointment. Our (I work in a university) counselling service also provides a list of private and charity counsellors who might be able to help more immediately. There are also online services, which offer listening and support rather than counselling. At my university the Chaplaincy runs a brilliant listening service which helps students understand how they are feeling. It’s completely non-religious and underused so easy to access.

If he has a personal tutor he should talk to them, academics are very variable in their pastoral abilities (and what is expected of them varies from university to university) but they will be able to explain the system for getting mitigation for exams etc. There may also be support staff in his department who look after student wellbeing. The most important thing is to speak to someone.

He will probably find it easier to open up to someone who his not his parent, I know this is hard to accept but a stranger doesn’t come with the hopes and expectations that a parent does. What you need to do (which you are doing) is to show that whatever he decides is fine with you (even if deep down it isn’t) and show that you care about him, not the idea of him that you all had when he set off for university.

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DSisSad · 23/04/2021 18:27

Im greatful for everyones input.

DS spoke to the GP today and she gave him some advice and also prescribed some anti depressants. She didnt mention counselling but I will discuss with DS. In some ways Id prefer him to stop uni for the moment and just repeat the year once theres teaching and social life again and hes a bit more himself again but it has to be his decision. Or even change completely and get a job.

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thesandwich · 23/04/2021 18:30

That’s good. He does need to talk to uni about his options.
So many students are going through this- he is not alone.
Good luck it’s great he can confide in you.

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DoNotBringLulu · 23/04/2021 22:03

I am sorry to hear this it is so sad. My ds has struggled during lockdown at uni; he has accessed some online support from his university which seems to have helped. I saw on his university's website that the Office for Students have help via web chat, text, phone or Email for students to talk through issues, if he is unable to access any help via uni counsellors. I hope your ds feels better soon. The worry is consuming Flowers

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DoNotBringLulu · 24/04/2021 11:01

OP if you come back, have a look at this link, click on support and it will take you through how to access help as mentioned in my previous post: studentspace.org.uk/wellbeing/healthy-habits-can-help-your-mental-health?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI_byips-W8AIVFeztCh09FQ3XEAAYASABEgJszfD_BwE

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VanCleefArpels · 24/04/2021 12:28

He must speak to the tutor - if for no other reason than to have his issues marked on the record which may give him some leeway re exams etc

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MarchingFrogs · 24/04/2021 13:02

@VanCleefArpels

He must speak to the tutor - if for no other reason than to have his issues marked on the record which may give him some leeway re exams etc

Also as a record should he decide to withdraw from the University. If the problems are severe enough to be accepted as 'compelling', he will preserve the right to the year's funding, if he starts again at some point in the future.

Hopefully, the antidepressants will help him to be able to make a sensible decision about the current course / university, but they do take a while to have an effect.
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DSisSad · 24/04/2021 18:01

Thank you this is really helpful.

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