World Mental Health Day – Sunday 10 October

Mental health includes our emotions and our psychological and social wellbeing. It can affect how we think, feel, behave, and determines how we handle stress, make decisions or approach relationships. We all have mental health and we can all experience challenges with our mental health at different times in our lives.

The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is Mental Health in an Unequal World. Because whilst absolutely anyone can suffer from a mental health problem, access to mental health support is not equally available and can be affected by where we live or who we are.

One thing we can all do to support those around us is to start to talk about mental health. The NHS has come up with some tips to help:

Top things you can do to help others

Express concern and say you can help

Letting someone know you’re worried is a good way to open up a conversation – it shows you care about the person, have time for them and that they do not have to avoid things with you.

Act as you usually do together

Do what you usually do – behaving differently can make someone feel more isolated. Do not be afraid to offer kind words and a space to talk, whether by phone, messaging or in person.

Reassure them

The first time someone mentions their worries is a big step. It’s good to recognise this and reassure them. Let them know you’re there to listen when they need to talk.

Offer your time to listen

Listening is an important skill. Ask open questions that start with “how”, “what”, “where” or “when”. This can help people open up.

Be patient

You will not always know the full story. There may be reasons why they have found it difficult to ask for help. Just being there can be helpful for someone who may want to open up later.

If they do not want support

Gently explore their reasons for not wanting to get support. If they are unsure whether to get help, just talking and listening without judgement could help work out what’s getting in the way.

Do not force it

Do not force someone to talk to you or get help, and do not go to a doctor on their behalf. This may lead to them feeling uncomfortable, with less power and less able to speak for themselves.

Look after yourself

It can be upsetting to hear someone you care about in distress. Be kind to yourself and take some time to relax or do something you enjoy.

Offer practical help

Little acts of kindness – like offering to do the shopping or to go to professional appointments with them – can help. Find out what works for them.

 

Wellbeing support at the University

Everyone recognises that the last 18 months have been very hard and has affected us all differently. As you start your studies you may feel that you struggle to get started or settle in and that’s perfectly normal. There are many resources available to help, and we’ve taken time and feedback from students to recommend some that can be found online here – http://www.bristol.ac.uk/students/support/wellbeing/

But just to highlight a few in particular:

There is a lot you can do to help manage your own mental health – https://www.bristol.ac.uk/students/support/wellbeing/self-help/

It’s also important to call out those who negatively affect our mental health – https://www.bristol.ac.uk/students/support/wellbeing/report-unacceptable-behaviour/

PROJECT:TALK is running a Mental Fitness Fair in the Anson Rooms (11-2 pm on 23 October) and they also offer one to one peer support if you can’t attend the fair – https://www.projecttalk.org.uk/bristol-peer-support

Student Minds also has a lot of resources available for mental wellbeing.

If you or a friend are facing a mental health emergency, there is always help available here – http://www.bristol.ac.uk/students/support/wellbeing/emergency-help/

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate the reasons you are at university, reflect on your individual journey and recognise that getting to where you are now is a huge achievement!

Wellbeing workshops

October

How to Thrive at University (Sessions on 14th October and 29th October)

Designed to help you hopefully improve a variety of areas. The sessions will cover:

  • Basic Anxiety Management (breathing exercise + when to use it).
  • Basic managing procrastination
  • Time Management
  • Finding balance with Work/life
  • Breathing exercise to help improve general wellbeing

 

How to Improve Self-Esteem (Session on 20th October)

This workshop will help you to understand how self-esteem is formed and how it can impact on behaviour. We will help you to develop techniques to help you improve and maintain self-esteem

 

Managing Perfectionism (Sessions on 13th October & 28th October)

This 1-hour interactive workshop will cover:

  • What is Perfectionism?
  • How and when it becomes a problem
  • Healthy Striving as an alternative
  • Understanding and challenging our thought processes
  • Sharing ideas and strategies to achieve a balanced outcome

 

Relaxation (Session on 26th October)

This workshop will teach you the importance of Relaxation, and provide you with techniques to aid your studies and help manage anxiety.

 

November (not yet bookable):

Managing and Maintaining Mental Health

This workshop is for students who have had a recent diagnosis of a mental health condition, or who experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, or panic with some regularity. It is designed to help you learn how to manage your unique mental health condition so that you can live a healthy life without your condition becoming a barrier. The workshop is designed to help you with:

  • Understanding the illness, you have
  • Understanding YOUR illness
  • Getting to know yourself
  • Your Safety Nets
  • Reviewing and Changing as you grow 

 

Managing Exam Stress

This workshop will examine typical responses to exam stress and identify and explore coping techniques to help manage challenging feelings. It will also explore the concept of stress, how we can effectively recognise our optimal performance level and how to practice self-care throughout an exam period.

 

 

PROJECT:TALK Bristol – connecting our community in the COVID-19 pandemic

PROJECT:TALK Bristol have a mission to change the way Bristol views mental health by pioneering mental fitness. Below, members of the team tell their story of setting up PROJECT:TALK and their work to support students at Bristol during the pandemic.

PROJECT:TALK logo and committee members

George, PROJECT:TALK CIC’s co-founder and Bristol Society’s current co-president, explains how it all started

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A Mental Marathon

This post was written by the Founder and Director of PROJECT:TALK CIC, George Cole. George is also a fourth year medical student at University of Bristol. 

Right, stop what you’re doing. Now, get up and run. No, don’t complain, just do it! You haven’t got a choice. Keep running until you’re told to stop.

Oh, and whilst you’re running, make sure you don’t let anything slip, ok? What do you mean you can’t carry on doing your day job as effectively as usual! Find a way! Pathetic.

If this seems a bit of an obscure and unpleasant situation to you, then you’re not alone. You could think of the COVID-19 pandemic a little like this – being plunged into uncertainty, no choice in the matter, completely unprepared and unfamiliar. A mental marathon.

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Get ahead of worries this World Mental Health Day

Written by Dr Dominique Thompson

Starting university is always a big moment in life, but in 2020 it’s going to be a historic moment too. Living in a new institution, perhaps a new city, in a global pandemic certainly adds an edge to the whole process.  

So if you are feeling a little stressed (which would be entirely normal) help is at hand and you may find the new, free, online course that I helped to create, ‘Being Well Living Well’, very useful indeed.  

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How our community are being kind during lockdown

Every May we in the United Kingdom celebrate and observe Mental Health Awareness Week. It is a chance to raise awareness of mental health problems and the importance of taking care of ourselves. It is an opportunity to inspire action, share experiences, and end the stigma that still surrounds mental health.

This year’s theme is kindness. Being kind to ourselves, being kind to others and being kind to our communities and planet.

 

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Mental health in lockdown

The world feels very strange at the moment, and undoubtedly the uncertainty about the length of the lockdown, our health and that of our loved ones, access to pasta and toilet paper etc., is cause for anxiety. 

Here are some tips and tricks that may ease or help you manage your worries during this time.   

Meditate

Mediation may bring forth images of incense sticks, swaths of tie-dye and people chanting. This is sometimes the case. But meditation, in essence, is simply a practise where through mindfulness or focusing on a particular thought, to achieve a calm and stable mindset. 

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24/7 wellbeing services available for those in need of support

In these strange and uncertain times, it’s understandable that many of you will be feeling anxious, sad or even a little bit scared, which can be tough to say out loud. Don’t forget that there are many support services out there for you, with some offering a listening ear 24/7. 

TalkCampus 

TalkCampus is here if you need someone to talk to, about anything, anywhere, at anytime. The app enables you to message fellow students from all over the world, day and night. You can share your worries and thoughts with those going through the exact same struggles as you. 

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Staying active while staying put

We’ve been in lockdown for nearly 4 weeks now, so understandably some of us may be feeling a little cooped up. Staying active, even for 30 mins a day or less, will give big benefits to our fitness, and overall health and wellbeing. At a time when so much is happening that we can’t control, putting things in place for yourself that you can rely on become even more important. Here are our top tips for staying active while staying put. All of these activities can be done in very small spaces, and with a minimum amount of equipment, so give them a go!

What you’ll need:

  • A yoga mat. If you don’t have one, a towel will do the trick as well.
  • Make-do weights. Use books, water bottles – anything you can get your hands on.
  • Resistance bands. If you don’t have anything to hand, you can do these moves perfectly well without them.
  • Plenty of water. This one’s crucial. Hydration is key so make sure you have plenty of water to hand. (more…)

Self-Isolation: A final year’s guide to coping

Hello everyone, my name is Kiki and I’m a final year student at UOB. I’m writing this blog to reach out to students during isolation. I am sure that this is a very anxious and stressful time for many of you. Being a final year student, my whole education has been turned upside down and I have no choice but to try and respond to it in the calmest way possible.

I am sure many of you will have heard a lot of advice on ways to stay sane, so I have included general advice at the end for anyone interested. I’m hoping however, that if you’re reading this, you’ll gain an insight into something that may help you during these incredibly challenging times as these are some of the methods that are helping me to remain positive and calm.

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5 books to get you through isolation

Hi I’m Jini and I’m a first year English student.

As we all know, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks. I’m sure we’ve all heard it a million times by now but just as a reminder, in keeping with NHS guidelines, it is imperative that we all, young and old, practice social distancing, self isolation and quarantining where necessary in order to stop the spread of this virus and return back to our normal lives as soon as possible. But of course doing the right thing isn’t always easy and staying indoors for such a long period of time can be very hard for most of us. With most schools out for the term, we’ve got a lot of free time on our hands, a great period to reflect on the year so far, pick up a new hobby, connect with our friends and family…. At this time it’s really important that we try to come up with fun, innovative ways to keep busy, keep healthy and keep active while also getting the sufficient amounts of rest I’m sure we all need.

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