This June and July hundreds of thousands of students will have graduated from university with a brand spanking new degree. However, despite their newfound credentials, they can often find themselves feeling helpless when lunged back into the ‘real world’. This can produce what is unofficially known as Graduate Depression...
Graduate Depression: the feeling students get post-graduation when they realise they are saddled with debt, unemployment (most of the time), along with having to move back home.
While at university, mental health support can be next to nonexistent and in terms of support for students once they have graduated, it is simply unheard of. Counselling sessions are usually fully booked or the staff hours cut down to such extremes that it is impossible for students to seek the help that they require. Universities usually prep students on how to write an effective CV or cover letter, but not how to actually prepare themselves entering the real world.
Exam and dissertations can make the final year of university an endless sea of deadlines and students will often be too busy to ask for help, or in most cases will not realise how bad it is until it is too late and their dissertation is due the next day! Understandably, this can lead to some frightening statistics:
Every one in four students suffer from mental health issues at university
Once students have graduated, a large proportion will end up moving back home due to financial reasons (and also because they may not have seen their family in a long time). While this is fun for the first couple of weeks, graduates can soon start to feel that they no longer have the independence that they had gotten used to at university. The job search also begins once students have graduated which can not only be daunting but also disappointing when they cannot find jobs despite doing a degree to (partially) increase their employability. It is all a recipe for disillusionment and, most of all, anxiety.
Not only does mental health support at universities for current and future students need to be reformed, but also the support for graduates. We need to set aside time for understanding how post-graduate life can affect our mental health.