Student mental health in the UK is described as a crisis by the Mental Health Foundation. With most mental health disorders developing before the age of 24, university is one of the highest risk locations.
Settling into uni life requires a major transition. Adjusting to student living, from studying to socialising, can add pressure and stress to everyday life, with over 15,000 first-year students studying in UK universities reporting a mental health problem in 2015/16. One of the biggest changes those starting university have to tackle is living with other students.
Student houses might seem like fun and games, but they’re also a good place for arguments and hostility. In this blog post, acasa discuss whether living in a house share is a good idea when it comes to mental health. Read on to find out more.
In it together
Loneliness is a common problem for students at university. With 16-24 year olds labelled as the loneliest age group in the UK, moving to a new city to study with people you’ve never met poses an increased chance of loneliness, even among the most social of students.
Living in a house share can help reduce the pangs of loneliness every student is bound to feel at some point during their time away from home. Simply having someone to talk to after a hard day or simply knowing there’s others in the same boat can help to combat the feeling of being alone and isolated.
Having a few friendly faces from day one and someone there to talk when you need them can be the pick me up that prevents a downward spiral.
That’s not to say that house shares are always healing. For many students, house disputes holds their mental state at mercy. Big house bust ups and passive aggressive situations create hostile living conditions that leave you treading on eggshells.
House hostility is one of the most damaging aspects for students’ mental health. As such, ensuring you house does what it can to stay civil should be top of your priority list.
Whether there’s disputes about utility charges and who should pay what, or deciding who’s turn it is to clean the kitchen, it’s important to find a solution everyone can agree on early to prevent arguments and tension building up which can, ultimately, leave you feeling isolated in your own home.
Share the burden
But do the positives outweigh the negatives?
Living away from home for the first time means taking on new responsibilities like food shopping, cooking, utilities management and running a home. Doing all of this alone, on top of starting your degree course, is a lot to manage.
Feeling overwhelmed can have a detrimental impact on the state of your mental health. Living in a house share with other students who can share these responsibilities is a great way to lift weight off your shoulders and share the burden, reducing the risk of stress and worry.
If you’re debating whether a house share is a good idea, the answer is probably yes. The risk of house arguments is always there, but if you approach your shared responsibilities in the right way and respect each other’s space, it can be one of the best ways to take care of your mental health at university.