PHA encourages students to ‘Mind Your Head’

student book

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is encouraging students to be aware of the importance of looking after their mental health, as the new academic year gets underway.

Fiona Teague Health Improvement Manager with the PHA, said: “This month marks an exciting time for many young people as they head off to college or university. It can also be a huge period of change for those starting a new course and perhaps living away from home for the first time.

“Most of us go to university or college hoping that it will lead to a good job in the future. In the shorter term, students are usually focused on making new friends, settling into a new place, and finding a new job, but these can also present challenges.”

It is really important that students are aware that taking care of your mental health is just as important as looking after your physical health.

“There are many reasons why students could find themselves getting stressed out including having to develop new relationships, loneliness, money worries or the course they have chosen to study,” said Fiona.

“Ignoring problems can make them seem worse. If you are feeling stressed or that you can’t cope, talk to someone you trust as soon as you can – as the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved.

“Taking the first step in telling someone how you are feeling may be hard, but it can make a big difference.”

‘Mind Your Head: A student guide to mental health’ is a PHA booklet which covers topics such as money, body image, home life, feeling down and family issues. It also contains a list of helpful local organisations and websites which offer support. The booklet targets first year students at universities and further and higher education colleges, as the transition from school to third level education can be a stressful time.

The booklet is available from students’ unions across Northern Ireland. It is also online at

More information on looking after your mental health and the support which is available across Northern Ireland can be found at