‘It’s good to talk…’
This was, in the mid-to-late 1990s, a ubiquitous slogan used in a popular BT advertising campaign.
In making this point, we’re showing our age, although that concerns us not.
For be it back in the nineties, when an award-winning advert first aired on television screens across the United Kingdom, or now, in 2021, that much-used phrase still rings true.
Much has changed during the intervening period, but a great deal remains the same…
Make no mistake about it, it’s still good to talk.
Problems shared are problems halved – or so the old saying goes – and in all matters mental health, seeking support and outlining issues is always something that is to be encouraged.
That being the case, it heartens us to hear that more and more students have taken to speaking out, declaring their troubles and asking for advice, for guidance and for help.
Indeed, according to the latest figures from UCAS – the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service – the change has been so great as to make the picture almost unrecognisable.
Consider this: in 2011, 3,840 prospective students declared an existing mental health condition in their application for university; in 2020, that figure had risen to 21,105. The increase? 450 per cent.
More and more, it appears, young people have realised that, when it comes to matters mental health, it’s good to talk. More and more, problems are being both shared and halved.
Talking about mental health troubles has become much more commonplace during the last decade or so – this no longer the taboo subject that it once used to be, no more a shameful secret or a matter that must remain hidden from sight.
Much higher on the mainstream news agenda these days, it’s true that, from time to time, things can swing too far the other way, with children and adolescents sometimes verging on victimhood, helplessness and disengagement, as discussed in a previous post on our blog.
Yes, frailties can sometimes be clung to, with weaknesses encouraged, and perceived illnesses embraced. Yet for those whose needs in this regard are genuine and urgent, being able to articulate such issues in an attempt to access the assistance required, both to cope and to thrive, is both encouraging and important, suggesting that the familiar stigmas that have long surrounded mental health matters are beginning to be broken down, to the benefit of all.
There’s still work to be done, with UCAS reporting that almost 50% of students still choose not to share mental health information during the application process, fearing that disclosure might damage their prospects or that the data might somehow be misused.
Yet on the road to understanding issues and accessing services, there can be no question that this is a significant step in the right direction.
‘Once you’re at college or university, asking for help with your mental health needs to feel as simple as saying you’re trying to find the right book in the library,’ Rosie Tressler, chief executive of the mental health charity Student Minds, told The Telegraph. ‘We know that universities and colleges are working towards comprehensive whole-institution approaches to mental health, which will support and enable disclosure of health conditions at any and every stage of the student journey.’
Do YOU need help, support or advice?
It’s good to talk.