It's normal for day to day life at university to consist of emotional ups and downs, but when the usual day to day stresses get too much; students can be particularly vulnerable to mental health difficulties; with 75% of all mental health difficulties developing by mid-20s (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2010) and 29% of students experiencing clinical levels of psychological distress (Bewick, 2008).
Transition to university has been found to be an enormous challenge not just for students but also for parents.
Parents want to support their child and know that they are safe and happy whilst also achieving their best. A child moving away can be a big adjustment for a family. The balance between living independently during the term time and returning to a family home during the vacations can be challenging.
Blogger and mental health activist, Laura can vouch for this, her parents said:
Naturally we were emotional about her leaving for the first time... we had no knowledge about the support services at her university.
Whilst we were able to talk to her about mental health, we were worried she wouldn't be able to access support away from home, if she needed it.
Similarly, medical student Hannah credits her parents with helping her through her depression.
They have been there every step of the way... I wish that they had been able to get more support at times when they needed it, even if it was just someone to say that they were doing an amazing job.
Student Minds, the UK's student mental health charity wants to help support parents like Hannah and Laura's. They are working to launch 'Project Parent', the development of comprehensive resources for parents and guardians to help them through the transition of a child moving away to university, with a focus on how to support a child experiencing mental health difficulties.
You can support this exciting project by voting for Student Minds through the Aviva Community Fund. It takes just a couple of minutes to register and you can place 10 votes in one go for Student Minds. With your support they could receive an amazing £25,000 to make 'Project Parent' a reality.
I think that Project Parent is really important because it gives something back to the people that love unconditionally; that support unconditionally; and that are on the end of the phone when you can't stop crying at 2.30am, unconditionally. Parents often seem indestructible but mental health affects them too - please vote for Project Parent and make a difference to thousands of mums and dads' lives. - Hannah, Student
Together we can all play a part in supporting parents and improving student mental health across the UK.