As Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Steering Group, which has representatives from across our community, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your engagement and resilience as we have all taken steps to rapidly adjust to new ways of working.
I appreciate that this has been a challenging time as the situation with COVID-19 changes on a regular basis, and we explore new ways to interact and communicate with our colleagues and our teams.
This week is Mental Health Awareness week and a chance for us all to focus on paying attention to our own and others wellbeing as we learn to adapt to new ways of living and working. The theme this year is kindness, defined by doing something towards yourself and others, motivated by genuine desire to make a positive difference.
This has been chosen specifically due to the coronavirus pandemic and the recognition that kindness and its impact on our mental health are connected. We know from the research that kindness is an antidote to isolation and creates a sense of belonging, it helps reduce stress, brings a fresh perspective, deepens friendships, strengthens relationships and develops community.
At this important time, I would like to encourage you to be kind to yourself and others and would like to bring to your attention some of the staff and student health and wellbeing initiatives that will support you.
Staff wellbeing services are using this week to focus on the Five Ways to Wellbeing (Give, Keep Learning, Be Active, Take Notice, Connect) simple and proven actions that can help people find balance, build resilience and boost mental health and wellbeing.
Each day this week we will bring to your attention tools, techniques and resources that can support your health and wellbeing and I would like to encourage you to explore some of these and use then to support your own wellbeing.
Student Services have launched a new self-help programme: ‘Space from COVID-19’ specifically to help students deal with stress, worry and other emotions during these challenging times. Continuing this theme, a free online course for Bath students Anxiety Aid has proved to be very successful in helping students to keep worry and anxiety in check. This is a real-time group, facilitated by practitioners within Student Services and will be running regularly throughout the Summer.
Just a reminder that our Wellbeing Services are available every day 9-5pm by phone or email (including weekends and public holidays) and all our counselling, mental health, disability and student money services are fully available to students online.
To celebrate Mental Health Awareness week the University has agreed to fund free access to the online Wellbeing classes at The Edge for both staff and students up until the end of June. Please do take advantage of this – be kind to yourselves.
Professor Bernie Morley
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost