You might be at the start of your further education journey or maybe you’re in the second or third year. Perhaps you are a mature student starting on a change of career or adding to your existing qualifications. This may be an exciting time or a daunting one but the hope is you will enjoy your university experience and have many good memories to look back on. As a black student, however, it is also worth taking an honest look at the kinds of difficulties you might encounter whilst at university.
This blog aims to acknowledge some of the stressors black students may face and, by recognising their potential impact on your mental health, enable you to be better equipped to identify and manage them. Developed with input from a psychotherapist, this resource addresses some of the main issues that London South Bank University (LSBU) students identified as affecting their mental health and contains practical advice for coping with these challenges.
This guidance is not ‘one size fits all’. Treating mental ill health can be complex because everyone is unique, with different combinations of experiences, environments and difficulties that might impact their wellbeing and, in more serious instances, lead to mental health conditions or disorders.
This blog is also not a replacement for specific and specialist assistance. It offers support by acknowledging difficult experiences that black students may encounter during their studies and contains two broad sections relating to the racialised experience of black students.
The first section explores factors that contribute to a racialised experience that can impact your sense of yourself. The second section focuses on how these racialised experiences can affect how you relate to your environment.
Throughout this blog, there are suggestions of positive practices to help you better manage your mental health.
There are many factors that can contribute to a racialised experience that can impact your sense of self.
Being part of a university community can be rich and exciting. But while some people’s experience of student life is a socially fulfilling and rewarding one, others may face difficulties. For some black students, these difficulties can affect their sense of belonging, their participation and their motivation to learn.
We hope that this resource will help you as you navigate your way through some of the difficulties that black students can encounter whilst at university. Some sections might speak to you more than others. Some sections may not affect you now but could be something that comes up later in your university journey. For that reason, you might like to revisit this resource from time to time.
Please remember that this resource is not a replacement for specific and specialist assistance so, if you feel overwhelmed and in need of more support than is offered here, please speak to your university wellbeing team or a support organisation, such as Shout or The Mix.
This blog was written as part of the Office for Students' Black Students Mental Health Project at London South Bank University. Check out the full range of wellbeing resources available on the Good Thinking website.