Mental health guide for students living in Stockholm
By: Aastha Rohilla
May is Mental Health Awareness month, which is a cause close to our hearts here at Study in Stockholm. This comes as a great opportunity for all of us to touch upon the topic that often take the backseat, and bring awareness to the issues and behaviors that impact our happiness and fulfillment. It is all about joining hands and lifting off the stigma that are often associated with mental health.
Coping with mental health in Stockholm:
More than 450 million people worldwide suffer from mental health issues, and about 2/3 of those affected never seek treatment. This approach of not seeking help can lead to serious health issues.
Stockholm has always been very accommodating when people need to take a break. The work-life balance is pretty perfect here, and even the universities work in a way that doesn’t burden the students. I have always seen room for conversation in the universities about mental health issues, and that’s a really great sign of a healthy society. Help is often readily available for ones seeking it.
If you’re an international student living in Sweden, or in my case, here in Stockholm – the emphasis on mental health is of high priority at the universities and even in classrooms. The orientations include a talk on whereby the students can find support when in need. The dialogue is healthy, and students are encouraged to talk about their issues and concerns with the professors.
With the Covid-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, a lot of us are restricted to our houses and unable to travel to meet our family this summer. Therefore, it is vital to have a dialogue with people we trust.
The Student Health Services service can be taken up by the Stockholm University students as well as students from a few other universities. The service is also offered by SSSB (Student Housing). The service involves professionals working with medical and psychological consultation. The students from the following institutions can use this service:
Beckmans College of Design
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Stockholm University of the Arts
The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences (GIH)
Stockholm School of Economics
University College of Arts, Crafts, and Design (Konstfack)
Royal Institute of Art (Konsthögskolan)
Royal College of Music (Musikhögskolan)
Scandinavian College of Naprapathic Manual Medicine
All the visits and consultations are free of charge, and an appointment can be made by contacting them at [email protected] on Thursdays from 10.00-11.00 at +46 6747700.
The visits are confidential, and the patient’s integrity is maintained. There is no information sharing about the patient’s personal information, condition, or treatment. Student Health Services also offers some group therapies that can be taken up by individuals. It is one healthy way to understand that one is not alone, and that makes quite a difference.
Ask for help when you need it:
Apart from this, the Vardcentral also offers psycological supports. An appointment can be made online at https://www.vardcentraler.sll.se/, by finding your nearest health center. You can also call at 1177 to know more about this and talk about your concerns.
Finding somebody to talk to:
If you’re struggling with your mental health, talking about it really does help. Talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing.
It can be hard to talk about feelings but try and identify someone you feel comfortable with and who will be supportive. You may want to think about what you want to disclose, who to, and when a good time and place to do this could be.
If you’re struggling to get the words out in person, try write it down. An email is a perfectly acceptable way to ask for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed right now.
Even if you’re feeling fine, raising awareness about mental health is important for reducing the stigma in the real world. If you can, be a mental health advocate in your own circle, and ask your friends how they are really doing.
Here are some physical and mental signs to look out for in yourself, or your friends:
- Anxiety or feeling listless
- Low mood
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of creativity
- Fatigue and Exhaustion
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- High blood pressure
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased susceptibility to colds and flu
- Muscle tension and general bodily pain
Don’t lose faith, and if we look around us we’ll always find someone to help us.
It is right there even when we feel like we can’t or shouldn’t, but it’s there. Right there for us. We all feel this way at some point or the other and this feeling of knowing that we aren’t alone in this helps. We don’t know it at that moment but it does.
And my favorite line from Harry Potter if it makes sense, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”.