How To Support

University Hurdles: Toward Stronger Mental Health

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

University life is a blend of achievements and challenges. The excitement of excelling in exams can swiftly shift to concern when we face obstacles like failing a test or getting suspended. These bumps on the road can affect our mental health, leading to feelings of anxiety or sadness.

The Rollercoaster of University Life

Failing an exam can engulf us with doubt and worry. Though it’s just a score on paper, it sometimes feels like a big judgement on our capabilities. On the other hand, facing a suspension from the university can be a daunting experience. It can feel like a halt in our academic journey, often leading to feelings of isolation, embarrassment, and uncertainty about the future. It’s a time that tests our mental strength, but also offers a chance for reflection, learning, and personal growth. It’s crucial to remember, especially during these tough times, that we’re not alone. Together, with the right support, we can navigate through these challenging feelings.

It’s vital to acknowledge that it’s alright to stumble. Our value is not tied to the marks on our transcript or the disciplinary actions we face. These hurdles are temporary, but the impact on our mental health can last long if we don’t address them. It might feel like nothing is going right, or that the situation won’t improve. It’s a daunting feeling, yet it’s important to remember that feelings come and go, and with the right support, we will get through this together.

Steps Toward Nurturing Mental Health

The impact on our mental health is often brushed aside. Feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-worth are the hidden scars many students carry quietly. The shame around discussing mental health and university setbacks makes the battle even lonelier. Here are some steps towards building resilience and nurturing our mental health:

  • Be Kind to Yourself: Treat yourself with kindness and patience. Failing and facing setbacks are part of the learning journey. It’s alright to feel upset when things don’t work out the way we want them to. These feelings of failure are painful but temporary.
  • Talk About It: Reach out to friends, family, or a counselor. Sharing what you’re going through is a step towards healing. If you feel like you’re dragging others down with you, remember that it’s okay to seek support and that together, you can work through these feelings.
  • Mindfulness Practices: Try meditation, yoga, or simple breathing exercises to manage stress and stay calm.
  • Find Joy in Hobbies: Explore hobbies and activities that make you happy and help divert your mind from worries.
  • Stay Active with Sports: Engaging in sports is a great way to boost your mood, stay fit, and connect with others. It’s not only about the physical benefits but also about team spirit and enjoying good times with mates.
  • Learn More: Understand the importance of mental health, learn coping strategies, and know when to seek professional help.

Closing Thoughts: Embracing the Learning Curve

University life is full of different experiences. When we face challenges and learn from them, while also taking care of our mental health, we grow into not only stronger students but also understanding people. It’s a journey we are all on together, and with the right support and mindset, we can navigate through the highs and lows, celebrating the victories and learning from the setbacks, no matter where we come from or what language we speak.

Seeking Help: Trusted Resources for Support

If you need further information for yourself or a loved one, you can reach out to South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) at 011 262 6396 or 0800 567 567, or text 31393. They are available 7 days a week from 8am – 8pm. More information can also be found on their website at

Here are some 24-hour toll-free emergency helplines you can reach out to:

For Students:

  • Higher Health Helpline: 0800 36 36 36
  • Discovery Medical Students & Young Doctors Helpline: 0800 323 323
  • Have Hope Chat Line: 0800 000 242

24-Hour Toll-Free Emergency Helplines:

  • Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0800 567 567
  • Department of Social Development Substance Abuse Helpline: 0800 12 13 14, SMS 32312
  • Cipla Mental Health Helpline: 0800 456 789, SMS 31393
  • NPOwer SA Helpline: 0800 515 515, SMS 43010
  • Healthcare Workers Care Network Helpline: 0800 21 21 21, SMS 43001

WhatsApp Numbers (8AM – 5PM):

  • Cipla Mental Health: 076 882 2775
  • Maybelline BraveTogether: 087 163 2030
  • Ke Moja Substance Abuse: 087 163 2025
  • Have Hope Chat Line: 087 163 2050

Note: If ANY of the numbers are not working, please let us know so that we can remove it.

You are now leaving Unisa Groups

If you get "Expired Link", search using the bot - Joining groups using UnisaGroupsBot

Unisa Groups provides links to web sites of other organizations in order to provide visitors with certain information. A link does not constitute an endorsement of content, viewpoint, policies, products or services of that web site. Once you link to another web site not maintained by Unisa Groups, you are subject to the terms and conditions of that web site, including but not limited to its privacy policy.

You will be redirected to
in 5 seconds...

Click the link above to continue or CANCEL