Managing Health Conditions at University
Today I wanted to write about my experience of managing a health condition at university and to tell you a bit about the support that the university offers. If you’re preparing to apply for university and have concerns about how to manage your health condition as a student, I hope this reassures you and gives you more of an insight into the help available.
A quick disclaimer: when I say ‘health condition’, I mean this in the broadest sense – from mental health to physical health, from long-term to short-term. Everyone’s experience is unique and I am writing from my own personal experience. There are many different support services available at Warwick and I can’t cover everything, but I hope that the types of support I mention in this post give you an idea of what’s out there.
I have scoliosis, a long-term health condition which affects my back. The effect that my condition has on me can really vary – generally I’m able to live an active life but I also go through spells where my back pain is more difficult to manage. Because flare-ups can happen quite quickly and unexpectedly, it’s really important for me to have support in place ready for when I need it.
When I first arrived at university, I made an appointment with Disability Services who were really helpful and friendly. Starting uni is a stressful time in itself so it was a relief to have a support service that was so approachable. Disability Services helped with my exam arrangements, but they also provide lots of other assistance for students such as making sure that your needs are met in terms of accommodation and academic support. Warwick also has its own health centre on campus, there’s a Boots Pharmacy at Cannon Park Shopping Centre (5 minute walk from central campus) and there’s a walk-in centre in Coventry so medical treatment is easily accessible.
There is also support available to help you take care of your mental health. I used the counselling service to help manage symptoms of anxiety last year and it was a great source of support during a difficult time. As part of the Wellbeing Support Services Warwick offers, there are several different options available if you’re seeking support with your mental health such as individual appointments and group therapy as well as workshops and email counselling. Warwick also has a service called Nightline which is available every night of term, giving you the opportunity to talk to someone about anything on your mind.
The staff in my department – my personal tutor, lecturers and other members of staff – have also been really easy to talk to and I’ve never had a problem if I’ve had to miss classes to attend appointments. I find that my physical symptoms can flare-up during times of stress (and studying can be stressful!) so to feel supported by my academic department is really important.
Through the good and bad spells that I’ve had with my health over my time as a student, I feel like I’ve always been able to access the support that I’ve needed. Living independently at university means that you have to be organised and proactive in seeking support, but there are lots of services available on campus to help you manage your health condition and make the most of your time at Warwick.