To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (14 to 20 May) Tania Mohamed, who recently graduated with a degree in medicine from St George’s, University of London, talks about seeking help and using the support services available at the university during the final two years of her degree.

Tania Mohamed

calendar-icon 17 May 2018

Tania says, “I had two points where I felt I should speak to someone. One was when I had finished my fourth year and was due to start the final year. I was quite fraught with anxiety and had a low mood. One evening when I was speaking to my friends, I could only rely on my friends for so much as the stuff I was dealing with was quite out of their depth. While they were amazing supporters, they weren't therapists.”

Tania knew she wasn’t taking care of herself.

When I felt down, I would still see my friends but they noticed I seemed more ‘out of it’ and noticed I wasn't taking care of myself as much. I also wasn't studying; it was the beginning of the year so I had a while till exams but I definitely didn't keep up with the amount of reading I should do. Luckily it all worked out and I started studying pretty hard from January onwards but before then I had no motivation to study.

“Before I started feeling this way I used to have a really good routine with studying and going to the gym and cooking for myself - I lost interest in doing those things so I ended up gaining a little bit of weight which contributed to me feeling worse. I felt like I was losing interest in doing all the things I loved.”

“I needed someone impartial who could help me unravel my thoughts, so I went to see a university counsellor.”

“I felt that it was useful to speak to someone who was qualified and experienced in dealing with students who are going through a hard time, and because my mind was all in a bit of a mess, the counsellor was able to help me think a bit more clearly.

“A few months into my final year I was feeling less anxious but I had a weird sense of emptiness and apathy towards life. I wasn't attending placement as much as I could and I felt like I needed to really change that as I didn't want any issues with finishing my final year. I desperately felt like I needed a break but I didn't want to disrupt the year, so I went back to the counsellor and also spoke to my personal tutor.

“My tutor helped me so much - I would regularly check in with her and she would ask how my day had gone and if I went into placement. I felt much better having her do that. I needed some structure and she definitely helped provide me with that and drew me out of what I think was the start of a depressive rut.”

Tania feels she’s learnt more about herself at St George’s than anywhere else.

“I’ve got myself the job I wanted as an FY1 doctor in Ipswich Hospital so I'll be moving there at the end of July. I’m very excited and really happy to be starting a new life. While I have loved being at George's, and I've learnt more about myself here than anywhere else, I think it's the right time to finally move on. I have made some amazing friends and can't wait to see what the future holds!”

St George’s is committed to supporting students and their mental health, with a counselling service on site and pastoral care provided by tutors.