CU Leader Resources

There’s a student with a mental health issue in CU

The term ‘mental health issues’ includes a vast range of different conditions, but invariably the result for the person experiencing them is rejection and enforced loneliness. In your student Christian group students with mental health issues can find acceptance.

One person in three in the UK will experience mental health issues at some time in their lives, with conditions like clinical depression or breakdown resulting from extreme stress, bereavement, redundancy, divorce, violence, abuse, childbirth or following a traumatic event. Fortunately, most people recover fully from situations like these. However, some conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and personality disorders are more long term, but can nonetheless usually be contained with treatment. Other conditions which may be experienced are obsessions, phobias, hysteria, self-harming and eating disorders.

Self-harm

A person who self-harms is not necessarily mentally ill, but is usually experiencing extreme distress which may be as a result of abuse, depression, relationship problems or other difficulties.

Self-harm is more commonly seen in young people but can be experienced by people of any age.

The person may feel that self-harming gives them a sense of control, a release of emotion or punishment for feelings of guilt.

www.selfharm.org.uk has advice for young people who are self-harming, along with helpful information for friends, families and professionals.

Eating disorders

The term ‘eating disorders’ covers anorexia (severely restricting food intake) bulimia (bingeing and purging) and a number of other non-specific disorders relating to food.

The eating disorder is usually a way of coping with underlying issues rather than being about a person’s weight.

Additional Resources

www.mind.org.uk, www.sane.org.uk, and www.rcpsych.ac.uk all provide information on mental health issues, including self harm and eating disorders.

www.mindandsoul.info is an interesting site exploring the relationship between mental health and Christianity.

Assume nothing - always ask!

This resource is part of our Accessible CU series, created especially for Christian Unions by Through The Roof, a Christian Disability charity. To read this article in full, and other articles on including disabled students, download the student version of Through the Roof's publication Be a Roofbreaker for just £3.

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