Student voice

Nursing students and mental health issues: who takes care of us?

The pressures on nursing students can have tragic effects. A campaign is seeking to provide support 

The pressures on nursing students can have tragic effects. A campaign is seeking to provide support 

Picture: iStock

Continual demands on the nursing profession are becoming increasingly challenging. However, it's often overlooked how these demands are affecting nursing students and our education. We often read about the crisis within the NHS, leaving students feeling uncertain and fearful.

There’s pressure on us to perform as well and we endure copious amounts of stress at university, during placements and in our personal lives. Collectively, this is significantly impacting on nursing students' well-being. 

Afraid to talk

Unfortunately, many students are afraid to talk about how they are feeling in case people think they're not up to the job or question their abilities. Is this situation being recognised?

Recently, I read an article in Nursing Standard about Lucy de Oliveira, a nursing student aged just 22, who sadly took her own life. 

The student's mother reports that her daughter struggled with her demanding nursing degree and said that it should be easier for nursing students to speak out about mental health conditions. She calls for a radical change. With this, I couldn't agree more.

Encouraging well-being

At my university, we have introduced a new well-being campaign for nursing students called Time2ThinkofU. Creating a peer-to-peer support network, with strong links to university-based well-being and counselling services, our aim is to improve, and make nursing students' well-being a priority. As well as encouraging people to speak out, we aspire to develop a change in nursing education that focuses on the well-being of its students.

It would be beneficial if all universities could recognise this vital issue and take inspiration from the Time2ThinkofU campaign to improve the well-being of nursing students. We are nursing's future, and we deserve to have an education that takes care of us.

Related material

Time2ThinkofU website

About the author

Chris Steele is a second-year children’s nursing student, Edge Hill University, Lancashire

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